The Heart and Vascular Clinic Nashville, TN

What Is A Carotid Doppler Test?

A Carotid Doppler test uses sound waves to detect blood flow within the carotid arteries in the neck. These arteries are what supply your brain with blood, and if blocked or narrowing, can lead to a mini-stroke or stroke. The Carotid Doppler test works to evaluate the stroke risk of the individual by evaluating blood flow.

When Might I Need A Carotid Doppler Test?

Your doctor may recommend a Carotid Doppler test if you:

  • Have Had a Stroke or Are Showing Signs of Having Had a Stroke
  • Are Considered High-Risk For a Stroke
  • Have or May Have Carotid Artery Disease

Note: This list is not exhaustive. Your doctor may recommend this test for other reasons, as well.

What Should I Expect?

The Carotid Doppler test typically takes no more than a half hour from start to finish.

During the procedure, a gel will be applied to the areas of your neck containing the carotid arteries. Next, as with an echocardiogram or ultrasound, a transducer will be used to emit sound waves and measure sound wave responses as it moves along the surface of your neck. During the test you may be asked to shift or change positions or to alter your breathing patterns for clearer images

The sounds waves that bounce off of areas in which blood flow is restricted will sound much different from areas with normal and sufficient blood flow. These sound waves are recorded on video for review and evaluation. Once a radiologist has evaluated your test, the results will be sent to your doctor. You should receive a call from your doctor to discuss the results within a few days of having your test.

How Should I Prepare For The Test?

You will not need to do anything to prepare for the Carotid Doppler test, although smoking cigarettes should be avoided (as they can cause constriction of the arteries and altered results).

If you have any questions about this procedure, please feel free to jot them down for your next appointment.

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