Carotid artery disease affects 5% of people in the United States and is a risk factor for stroke. A carotid ultrasound is a noninvasive test that evaluates the carotid arteries, diagnosing carotid artery disease. At Carolina Heart and Leg Center in Fayetteville, Lumberton, Erwin, and Saint Pauls, North Carolina, Hari Saini, MD, and the team perform carotid ultrasounds to look for blockages and provide care to prevent complications like strokes. To schedule your carotid ultrasound, call the office nearest you or book an appointment online today.
What is carotid artery disease?
Carotid artery disease occurs when there’s narrowing or blockage from a buildup of plaque along the blood vessel walls in the carotid arteries that carry oxygen-rich blood to the brain, a condition called atherosclerosis.
Carotid artery disease increases your risk of having a stroke. A carotid ultrasound is an imaging test that diagnoses carotid artery disease.
How does a carotid ultrasound find blockages?
A carotid ultrasound uses sound wave technology to see the flow of blood through the carotid arteries on each side of your neck. The ultrasound provides moving images of these arteries, allowing the team at Carolina Heart and Leg Center to see narrowing or blockages.
Who needs a carotid ultrasound?
Your primary care provider or cardiovascular specialist at Carolina Heart and Leg Center may recommend a carotid ultrasound if there are concerns about blood clots or plaque along your carotid arteries.
During a physical exam, your health care provider may listen to the flow of blood through your carotid artery and hear an unusual whooshing sound, triggering the need for further evaluation. You may also need a carotid ultrasound if you have:
You may also need a carotid ultrasound if you need coronary artery bypass surgery.
How do I prepare for a carotid ultrasound?
The Carolina Heart and Leg Center team provides specific instructions on how to prepare for your carotid ultrasound. They request you come to your appointment wearing comfortable clothing and leave all valuables at home.
What happens during a carotid ultrasound?
The team at Carolina Heart and Leg Center explains what you can expect during your carotid ultrasound at your initial consultation. The test takes about 30 to 45 minutes. While you lie back on the exam chair, your provider applies a clear gel on the skin of your neck.
The gel helps glide the ultrasound tool (transducer) over your skin and improves sound conduction. Your provider presses the transducer on your neck to get images of your carotid arteries. They look at the arteries on both sides of the neck.
You can resume your usual activities after a carotid ultrasound. The team at Carolina Heart and Leg Center reviews the preliminary findings with you and schedules a follow-up appointment to discuss the results and treatment options.
Call Carolina Heart and Leg Center or schedule your carotid ultrasound online today.