About the Exam- Carotid Ultrasound

Carotid ultrasound is a safe, painless procedure that uses sound waves to examine the structure and function of the carotid arteries in the neck. You have two carotid arteries, one on each side of the neck, which deliver blood from the heart to the brain. Carotid ultrasound can reveal whether an artery has any blockage and how well blood flows through the artery.

Carotid ultrasound is usually used to screen for blockages that indicate an increased risk of stroke. Results from a carotid ultrasound can help your doctor determine what kind of treatment you may need to lower your risk.

Some risks factors calling for a carotid ultrasound are:

  • Diabetes
  • Elevated blood cholesterol
  • A family history of stroke or heart disease

A carotid ultrasound is performed to:

  • Evaluate the carotid arteries for presence of plaque that can restrict blood flow to the brain.
  • Check the state of the carotid artery after surgery to restore normal blood flow.
  • Verify the position of a metal stent placed to maintain carotid blood flow.

Learn how to prepare for a carotid ultrasound exam in the Preparations for a Carotid Ultrasound section.

Find out if a carotid ultrasound is right for you in the Benefits and Risks of a Carotid Ultrasound section.

For a downloadable/printable PDF about this exam with preparation instructions click here.

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