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What happens during a carotid artery duplex scan?

A carotid artery duplex scan, a type of vascular ultrasound study done to assess the blood flow of the arteries that supply blood from the heart through the neck to the brain, may be performed on an outpatient basis or as part of your stay in a hospital. Procedures may vary depending on your condition and your physician's practices.

Generally, a carotid artery duplex scan follows this process:
  1. You will be asked to remove any clothing, jewelry, or other objects that may interfere with the scan.
  2. If you are asked to remove clothing, you will be given a gown to wear.
  3. You will lie on an examination table with your neck slightly extended (bent backward).
  4. A clear gel will be placed on the skin at various locations on the carotid arteries.
  5. The Doppler transducer will be pressed against the skin and moved around over the area of the artery being studied.
  6. When blood flow is detected, you will hear a "whoosh, whoosh" sound. The probe will be moved around to compare blood flow in different areas of the artery. Both sides of the neck will be examined.
  7. Once the procedure has been completed, the gel will be wiped off.
The technologist will use all possible comfort measures and complete the procedure as quickly as possible to minimize any discomfort.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.