Carotid Doppler Ultrasound

Carotid ultrasound is a non-invasive test that uses sound waves to measure the flow of blood through the carotid arteries in the neck that supply blood to the brain. 

Doppler ultrasound is a special ultrasound technique that evaluates blood flow -including both its speed and direction- through a blood vessel.

Carotid duplex Ultrasound uses a combination of conventional and Doppler ultrasound to:

  1. assess blood flow in the carotid arteries
  2. measure the speed of the blood flow
  3. estimate the diameter of a blood vessel and amount of obstruction, if present.

Carotid intima media thickness (IMT) is a measurement of the two innermost layers (the intima and media) of the carotid artery walls made from ultrasound images. Abnormal thickening of the artery walls or plaque formation may signal the development of cardiovascular disease.

Preparation

There is no special preparation for this test. Just wear suitable clothing to allow access to your neck. You may need to remove all clothing and jewelry in the area to be examined. No other preparation is required.

What will happen during the procedure?

You will be positioned lying face-up on an examination table that can be tilted or moved. A clear water-based gel is applied to the neck area to help the transducer make secure contact and eliminate air pockets between the transducer and the skin that can block the sound waves from passing into your body. The radiologist then positions the transducer over the area of interest until the arteries have been evaluated and the desired images captured and measurements made.

What will I experience during the procedure?

There is usually no discomfort from pressure as the transducer is pressed against the area being examined. Once the imaging is complete, the clear ultrasound gel will be wiped off your skin. Any portions that are not wiped off will dry to a powder. The ultrasound gel does not stain or discolour clothing.

How long does the procedure take?

The procedure should be complete within 20-30 mins. After the ultrasound examination, you should be able to resume your normal activities immediately.

When will I get my results?

Within 2hrs of your examination your results will be faxed to your doctor followed by a copy in the post.
 

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