What are the carotid arteries?
The carotid arteries are major blood vessels on each side of your neck that are responsible for delivering blood to your brain. Carotid artery disease refers to blockage of the carotid arteries, preventing adequate blood supply to the brain.
If your doctor suspects issues with your carotid arteries, they may require you to undergo a carotid ultrasound.
What is a carotid ultrasound?
A carotid ultrasound is an imaging test that uses sound waves to produce images of your carotid arteries. A carotid ultrasound is most frequently performed to check for blockages or narrowing of your carotid arteries. Impaired blood flow to the brain puts you at an increased risk of stroke.
ECCA recommends carotid ultrasounds for patients with conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and coronary artery disease, which can increase the risk of stroke.
A carotid ultrasound can help early detect issues with your carotid arteries. With early diagnosis and treatment, you can lower your risk of stroke and maintain good heart health.
A Doppler ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of body fluid and tissue movement. When combined with a carotid ultrasound, the Doppler ultrasound shows the movement of blood through your arteries. This is often essential to determine how well blood moves from the heart to your brain.
How are carotid ultrasounds performed?
To perform your carotid ultrasound, your provider glides a small handheld device called a transducer along the sides of your neck. You may be required to lay on your back or sides.
The transducer emits sound waves that bounce off (echo) tissue, organs, and blood cells, producing images on a nearby monitor. Carotid ultrasounds are a simple, painless procedure that typically takes about 30 minutes.
Once the procedure is over, you can immediately return to your normal activities. Your ECCA doctor uses your results to determine your diagnosis and the best treatment options for your condition.
The treatment for blocked or narrowed carotid arteries is typically a combination of lifestyle modifications and medication. In severe cases of carotid artery disease, you may require surgery for adequate treatment.
To schedule your carotid ultrasound, call ECCA, or book an appointment online today.