A carotid ultrasound is an imaging procedure used to evaluate the carotid arteries that carry blood from the heart to the brain. This procedure is usually performed to diagnose carotid artery disease in patients who are beginning to show symptoms or are at a high risk for the condition, including patients at an advanced age or with diabetes or high cholesterol. The ultrasound shows detailed images of the structure of the carotid arteries.
During the ultrasound procedure, the patient will lie on their back and the doctor or technician will apply gel to the area on the neck where each artery is located. A transducer will then be moved over the area to give off sound waves and produce an image of each artery, which is displayed on a computer screen during the test. Your doctor will be able to determine if plaque has built up and narrowed one or both of the arteries, which can lead to reduced blood flow to the brain.