Doppler Ultrasound of the carotid arteries

What is a Doppler Ultrasound of the carotid arteries?

A carotid duplex scan is a simple and painless test that uses ultrasound to look for blockages in your carotid arteries (neck arteries). An ultrasound is a type of scan that uses sound waves to produce a picture of the inside of your body. Your carotid arteries are located along both sides of your neck. Blocked carotid arteries are a major risk factor for stroke.

What can I expect the day of my test?

The vascular technologist will explain your exam and answer any questions you may have. Your procedure may be performed with you lying on the examination table or sitting in a chair. The technologist will apply warm gel to your neck area. A transducer, a small, microphone-like device, will be placed over each side of your neck. You will not feel any pain; however you will feel mild pressure from the transducer. Sound waves will bounce off the organs and tissue in your body and the blood moving in your arteries. This creates “echoes.” The echoes are reflected back to the transducer. A television monitor shows images as the transducer converts the echoes to electronic signals. These images may be viewed immediately, or photographed for further study. You may hear unusual sounds as the technologist views and records the blood flowing through your neck vessels (carotid arteries). Your exam will take approximately 15 to 30 minutes.