Carotid Artery Ultrasound

A carotid artery ultrasound is a diagnostic procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to generate images of the neck‘s internal carotid arteries, which supply oxygen-rich blood to the brain. A carotid artery ultrasound is used to evaluate a patient‘s risk of stroke or other cardiovascular complications by checking for artery-narrowing plaque buildup.

In general, candidates for carotid artery ultrasound are those who are at high risk for, or beginning to display the symptoms of, carotid artery disease. Candidates include those who have recently had a stroke or carotid artery surgery; have an abnormal sound in, or damage to the walls of, a carotid artery; or are suspected of having blood clots in a carotid artery. High-risk candidates for carotid artery disease include those who have been diagnosed with diabetes or high cholesterol, or have a family history of heart disease.

During the ultrasound procedure, the patient lies faceup on a table, and a doctor applies a cool gel to both sides of the neck, at each artery‘s location. A transducer is moved over the arteries to give off sound waves; the sound waves‘ echoes bounce off the artery walls and blood cells, and are converted into images by a computer. The images, usually in black and white, are then displayed on a computer screen. If a Doppler ultrasound is included in the test, the flow of blood through the arteries can be detected; blood flow is usually shown in color. A carotid artery ultrasound is performed in a doctor‘s office, and usually takes less than 30 minutes.

There are no risks associated with a carotid artery ultrasound, and patients can return to their regular activities immediately afterward. Results are discussed with the patient shortly after the ultrasound is completed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Symptoms of Carotid Artery Disease?

Recognizing the symptoms of carotid artery disease can be life-saving. However, many people don’t exhibit noticeable signs of carotid artery disease until they have their first transient ischemic attack (TIA) or mini-stroke. Because of this, carotid artery ultrasounds and frequent visits to your doctor are essential.

Symptoms of a TIA and stroke include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of vision
  • Loss of memory
  • Speech problems or inability to communicate
  • Numbness in the face or on one side of the body
  • Weakness in movement
  • Problems with thinking or reasoning

Who Is Most Prone to Carotid Artery Disease?

If strokes have occurred in your family, you may be at an increased risk for developing carotid artery disease. Because of this, prioritizing your ultrasound can be crucial to your health. Other conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or high triglycerides, as well as smoking and using recreational drugs, can also increase your risk for carotid artery disease.

How Can I Prepare for My Carotid Artery Ultrasound?

Preparing for your ultrasound involves little work for the patient other than wearing comfortable clothing to your appointment, such as an open-necked shirt. In addition, having a loved one accompany you to your appointment is typically a great sign of support for most patients.

When Will I Receive the Results From My Carotid Artery Ultrasound?

Patients can expect to receive the results from their ultrasound within two to three days. Your doctor at Suffolk Vascular and Vein Center will let you know if they expect a serious condition.

Schedule Your Carotid Artery Ultrasound in New York Today

With office locations in Port Jefferson Station, Riverhead, and Hauppauge, New York, the highly experienced team at Suffolk Vascular and Vein Center not only treats conditions all across the spectrum of arterial diseases but also prioritizes providing patient comfort and education. If you or someone you know needs an ultrasound for carotid artery disease, or if you would like to find out more, contact us today to schedule your first consultation.

Patient Testimonial

"Everyone was so nice and caring. Paula, Jackie and Doreen were extremely nice and explained everything very clearly. I would definitely recommend this doctor’s office"

- Valerie D.

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