Carotid Duplex

Also Called 
carotid Doppler, carotid ultrasound, Doppler ultrasound

BY DR. LORI C. POUNDS

This painless, noninvasive test is used to see and measure the rate at which blood flows through your carotid arteries and look for possible blockages. No radiation, dye or needles are used. The test may be performed in a vascular laboratory, a doctor’s office or a radiology department.

Reasons

You may be given a carotid duplex test to determine whether plaque has accumulated in your arteries, causing carotid artery disease (hardening of the arteries).

RISKS

This is a no-risk test.

The information contained on Vascular.org is not intended, and should not be relied upon, as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. It is very important that individuals with specific medical problems or questions consult with their doctor or other health care professional.
Description
  • Wearing your street clothes, you will be asked to lie on a stretcher.  
  • Ultrasound gel, usually warmed for your comfort, will be placed on either side of your neck.  
  • Through the gel, the technician will apply to your neck a small hand-held device that emits sound waves. 
  • When the test is completed, the technician will remove excess gel from your neck. The gel is water-soluble and will not stain your skin or clothes.
How to Prepare
  • Eat and take medications as usual. 
  • Wear minimal or no jewelry to ease application and removal of gel.
What Can I Expect After the Test?

The technician will send the ultrasound images to your vascular surgeon for evaluation. Typically, a report is available in 2–3 days. If anything critical is found, it is standard practice at most labs to notify the vascular surgeon immediately.