Culicchia Neurological Clinic was proud to offer carotid artery screenings as part of the Aces Against Aneurysms fundraising tennis tournament. A carotid artery ultrasound is a screening test that detects blockages that could cause a stroke. It uses high-frequency sound waves to create pictures of the inside of the two large arteries in your neck that supply your brain with oxygen-rich blood.
Carotid ultrasound shows whether a substance called plaque has narrowed your carotid arteries. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood. Plaque builds up on the inside of your arteries as you age. Neurologist Walter Truax, M.D. explains the process in this video.
Too much plaque in a carotid artery can cause a stroke. The plaque can slow down or block the flow of blood through the artery, allowing a blood clot to form.
A standard carotid ultrasound shows the structure of your carotid arteries. Your carotid ultrasound test may include a Doppler ultrasound. Doppler ultrasound is a special test that shows the movement of blood through your blood vessels.
Carotid ultrasound is painless and often doesn’t take more than 30 minutes.
The ultrasound machine includes a computer, a video screen, and a transducer. A transducer is a hand-held device that sends and receives ultrasound waves into and from the body.
Your technician or doctor will put the transducer against different spots on your neck and move it back and forth. The transducer gives off ultrasound waves and detects their echoes after they bounce off the artery walls and blood cells. Ultrasound waves can’t be heard by the human ear.