Carotid ultrasound is a simple diagnostic procedure that reveals blockages in a carotid artery. If your cardiologist at Advanced Heart Care Associates finds a blocked carotid artery, they can immediately begin treatment that clears the artery and prevents a stroke. They also use carotid ultrasound to screen for early signs of a diseased artery. To learn more about carotid ultrasound or schedule an appointment, call their Henderson, Nevada office or one of the two offices in Las Vegas, Nevada, or use the online booking feature today.
Carotid ultrasound is a painless procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of one or both carotid arteries. These arteries go up both sides of your neck, carrying oxygen-rich blood to your brain.
Your carotid ultrasound typically combines standard ultrasound with Doppler ultrasound. Standard ultrasound shows the artery's structure, while Doppler shows blood moving through the artery.
The combined information allows Advanced Heart Care Associates to see if the artery is blocked, the severity of the blockage, and its impact on blood flow.
You need a carotid ultrasound to diagnose carotid artery disease (CAD). Carotid artery disease develops when cholesterol builds up in the artery, forming plaque that gradually enlarges and blocks blood flow. Without treatment, this condition (atherosclerosis) eventually stops enough blood to cause a stroke.
Carotid artery disease seldom causes signs that you will notice. However, your provider may listen through a stethoscope and hear abnormal sounds as blood flows through the artery. These sounds indicate a blockage, so your provider follows up with an ultrasound.
Your provider can also assess your risk of developing carotid artery disease. If you have a high risk, they use carotid ultrasound to screen for early signs of the disease.
Your risk for carotid artery disease increases if you have or do any of the following:
Your risk also rises if you're 55 or older.
When you have a carotid ultrasound, your provider places a handheld transducer against your skin and moves it around to get images of the artery. The transducer sends sound waves through your skin and into the tissues below.
The waves bounce off the structures they encounter and return to the transducer. Then the transducer sends the information to a computer that produces images.
You feel slight pressure from the transducer, and you may hear sounds as your provider measures blood flow. Otherwise, a carotid ultrasound is safe, painless, and only takes about 30 minutes.
If you would like a carotid artery disease risk assessment or need to schedule a carotid ultrasound, call Advanced Heart Care Associates or book an appointment online today.