Who needs carotid ultrasound?

Carotid ultrasound checks for plaque buildup in the carotid arteries. Plaque can narrow or block your carotid arteries, preventing oxygen-rich blood from reaching your brain.
Your doctor may recommend a carotid ultrasound if you:
Had a stroke or mini-stroke recently. During a mini-stroke, you may have some or all of the symptoms of a stroke. However, the symptoms usually go away on their own within 24 hours. Have an abnormal sound in your carotid artery called a carotid bruit. Your doctor can hear a carotid bruit with the help of a stethoscope put on your neck over the carotid artery. A bruit may suggest a partial blockage in your carotid artery that could lead to a stroke.
Your doctor also may recommend a carotid ultrasound if he or she suspects you may have:
Blood clots that can slow blood flow in your carotid artery A split between the layers of your carotid artery wall that weakens the wall or reduces blood flow to your brain
A carotid ultrasound also may be done to see whether carotid artery surgery, also called carotid endarterectomy, has restored normal blood flow through your carotid artery.
If you had a procedure called carotid stenting, you may have carotid ultrasound afterward to check the position of the stent put in your carotid artery. (The stent, a small mesh tube, helps prevent the artery from becoming narrowed or blocked again.)
Sometimes carotid ultrasound is used as a preventive screening test in people who have medical conditions that increase their risk of stroke, including high blood pressure and diabetes.
People who have these conditions may benefit from having their carotid arteries checked regularly, even if they show no signs of plaque buildup.
This answer is based on source information from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute

Continue Learning about Diagnostic Ultrasonography

Can endoscopic ultrasound help diagnose lung disease?
Citrus Memorial HospitalCitrus Memorial Hospital
Endoscopic ultrasounds can be used to diagnose lung disease. The ultrasound machine can help doctors...
More Answers
Why would I need a venous ultrasound?
Portsmouth Regional HospitalPortsmouth Regional Hospital
A venous ultrasound is an imaging technique that looks at the veins in the legs or the arms.
More Answers
What is a testicular ultrasound?
A testicular ultrasound is a safe, painless procedure that uses sound waves to create images project...
More Answers
What is Transcranial Doppler (TCD)?
Transcranial Doppler (TCD) is a form of ultrasound. You may already be familiar with ultrasound ...
More Answers

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.