Carotid Duplex Scan (CDS)

Fig - Carotid Duplex

Definition:
Carotid Doppler ultrasound scanning is a painless way to show the amount of blood flow in the carotid arteries on each side of the neck your neck that carry blood to the head. Ultrasound uses sound waves and a type of sonar detection system to generate a black and white picture. This picture allows your doctor to see if there is narrowing or blockage of your carotid arteries, which is usually caused by cholesterol deposits. Narrowed carotid arteries are one cause of strokes, so this test is often used to evaluate patients who have had a stroke or who might be at a high risk for strokes.

Who needs this Procedure?
Carotid Doppler ultrasound scanning is used to evaluate the risk of stroke in patients who have a history of stroke or are believed to be at high risk.

Risk Factors

Since the procedure is done without entering the body and does not use dyes or x-rays, there is no risk or pain involved in having a carotid ultrasound.

What to Expect

Fig - CDS Unit

Preparation:
There are no special preparations for this procedure. You will be asked to remove any jewelry around your neck. It is advised that you wear a loose fitting open necked shirt or blouse.

How is this procedure performed?
A Carotid Doppler ultrasound scan takes about 15 to 30 minutes, although times may vary. To perform this test, the healthcare professional will first squirt a clear jelly on one side of your neck. He or she will then place a sensor that looks like a wand or a microphone on the jelly. The jelly makes it easy for the ultrasound sensor to slide against your skin. As the healthcare professional moves the sensor around on your neck, a picture appears on a monitor. This picture shows the different rates of blood flow through the arteries. This procedure will then be repeated for the other side of your neck. Any narrowing of the carotid arteries will show up as an area of reduced blood flow. Narrowed carotid arteries are a leading cause of stroke.

After the Procedure:
When the procedure is complete, the healthcare professional will wipe off the jelly and you will be free to resume your normal activities. This test has no side effects. Your doctor will receive a report of the test results and notify you.

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