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What is a Carotid Doppler?

A carotid doppler is an ultrasound imaging technique used to determine the presence of possible blockages in the carotid arteries that run on either side of the neck and carry blood to the brain. A carotid Doppler helps visualize the carotid arteries and the blood flowing through them.

Indications for a Carotid Doppler

A carotid doppler may be indicated if you have any of the following conditions which can increase your risk for a stroke:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Family history of stroke or heart disease
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Diabetes
  • Recent transient ischemic attack (TIA) or stroke

The procedure may also be indicated to determine whether previous surgery to treat a blockage of the carotid artery was successful.

Preparation for a Carotid Doppler

A carotid doppler does not require much preparation

  • Wear comfortable clothing without a collar or an open collar
  • Do not wear a necklace or long earrings

Procedure of Carotid Doppler

  • You will be instructed to lie on a table, usually on your back. The doctor or technician will apply a clear gel to your skin over each carotid artery to help transmit the ultrasound waves.
  • A device called a transducer, which emits sound waves, is gently pressed against the sides of your neck. The echoes of the waves bouncing off the tissues and blood cells are recorded.
  • The information is relayed to a computer that produces live images on a monitor and the rate of blood flow is represented by a graph.
  • You shouldn't feel any discomfort during the procedure.
  • It usually takes about 30 minutes to complete the test.

Post-Procedural Care Instructions for a Carotid Doppler

A carotid doppler is not associated with any side-effects and does not require any post-procedural care. You will immediately be able to resume your normal activities. The results of your study are often immediately available. If a blockage is discovered, your doctor will recommend the appropriate treatment.

Other Cardiology Procedures

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