Carotid ultrasound uses sound waves to produce pictures of the carotid arteries in the neck which carry blood from the heart to the brain. A Doppler ultrasound study – a technique that evaluates blood flow through a blood vessel – is usually part of this exam. It’s most frequently used to screen patients for blockage or narrowing of the carotid arteries, a condition called stenosis which may increase the risk of stroke.
Little or no special preparation is required for this procedure. Leave jewelry at home and wear loose, comfortable clothing. A loose-fitting, open necked shirt or blouse is ideal.
A carotid ultrasound evaluates: 1) blockages to blood flow (such as clots)
2) narrowing of vessels
3) tumors and congenital vascular malformations
4) reduced or absent blood flow to various organs
5) greater than normal blood flow to different areas, which is sometimes seen in infections