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Carotid duplex

Scan - carotid duplex; Carotid ultrasound; Carotid artery ultrasound; Ultrasound - carotid; Vascular ultrasound - carotid; Ultrasound - vascular - carotid; Stroke - carotid duplex; TIA - carotid duplex; Transient ischemic attack - carotid duplex

Carotid duplex is an ultrasound test that shows how well blood is flowing through the carotid arteries. The carotid arteries are located in the neck. They supply blood directly to the brain.

Images

Carotid stenosis - X-ray of the left artery
Carotid stenosis - X-ray of the right artery
Carotid duplex

I Would Like to Learn About:

How the Test is Performed

Ultrasound is a painless method that uses sound waves to create images of the inside of the body. The test is done in a vascular lab or radiology department.

The test is done in the following way:

How to Prepare for the Test

No preparation is necessary.

How the Test will Feel

You may feel some pressure as the transducer is moved around your neck. The pressure should not cause any pain. You may also hear a "whooshing" sound. This is normal.

Why the Test is Performed

This test checks blood flow in the carotid arteries. It can detect:

Your doctor may order this test if:

Normal Results

The results will tell your doctor how open or narrowed your carotid arteries are. For example, the arteries may be 10% narrowed, 50% narrowed, or 75% narrowed.

A normal result means there is no problem with the blood flow in the carotid arteries. The artery is free of any significant blockage, narrowing, or other problem.

What Abnormal Results Mean

An abnormal result means the artery may be narrowed, or something is changing the blood flow in the carotid arteries. This is a sign of atherosclerosis or other blood vessel conditions.

In general, the more narrowed the artery is, the higher your risk for stroke.

Depending on the results, your doctor may want you to:

Risks

There are no risks with having this procedure.

Related Information

Ultrasound
Blood clots
Atherosclerosis
Carotid artery surgery - discharge

References

Bluth EI, Johnson SI, Troxclair L. The extracranial cerebral vessels. In: Rumack CM, Levine D, eds. Diagnostic Ultrasound. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 26.

Kaufman JA, Nesbit GM. Carotid and vertebral arteries. In: Kaufman JA, Lee MJ, eds. Vascular and Interventional Radiology: The Requisites. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 5.

Polak JF, Pellerito JS. Carotid sonography: protocol and technical considerations. In: Pellerito JS, Polak JF, eds. Introduction to Vascular Ultrasonography. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 5.

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Review Date: 8/2/2020  

Reviewed By: Amit M. Shelat, DO, FACP, FAAN, Attending Neurologist and Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology, Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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