How a Carotid Doppler Test Reveals Your Risk of Having a Stroke
The Carotid Doppler ultrasound is a non-invasive test that uses high-frequency sound waves to examine the blood flow through the carotid arteries and to detect narrowing of your carotid arteries or potential blockages caused by plaque. This special type of ultrasound is able to show blood flow as a colour-coded dynamic image, to be able to calculate the velocity of blood flow and to determine the degree of narrowing in the blood vessel. A computer translates the high-frequency sound waves into a live-action image on a monitor and translated into a graph. It helps to determine if you are at risk of having a stroke and to determine appropriate preventative measure or treatment to lower your risk.
What Do Carotid Arteries Do?
Your carotid arteries supply blood to the brain. These arteries can narrow due to a buildup of plaque or other causes and impede blood flow. Early diagnosis and treatment of a narrowed carotid artery can decrease stroke risk.
Your doctor will recommend carotid ultrasound if you have medical conditions that increase the risk of stroke, including:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Family history of stroke or heart disease
- Recent transient ischemic attack (TIA) or stroke
- Coronary artery disease
- Overweight or obese
- Lack of exercise
Benefits of Carotid Doppler Ultrasound
- A safe and painless procedure. (no needles or injections)
- Ultrasound imaging is extremely safe and does not use any ionizing radiation.
- Ultrasound scanning gives a clear picture of soft tissues that do not show up well on x-ray images.
- If a carotid ultrasound exam shows narrowing of one or both carotid arteries, treatment can be taken to restore the free flow of blood to the brain. Many strokes are prevented as a result.