A Doppler Carotid Ultrasound is a specific procedure within the overall carotid ultrasound process that reveals contractions and blockages in the veins and arteries around the neck. The technique analyses the flow of blood between the heart and the brain and looks for the narrowing of arteries, a condition which is called stenosis. There is no special way to prepare for the procedure and the process is completely non-invasive.

Reasons to Undergo the Carotid Doppler Ultrasound Procedure

The process is completely painless and utilizes sound waves to observe and form images of the carotid arteries. The carotid arteries are responsible for transferring blood to the brain from the heart. Any narrowing or blockage not only leads to heart complications and strokes, but can also cause problems with healthy brain activity in the long run.

There is often a deposition of plaque along these arteries made of fat, cholesterol, and calcium which causes the narrowing of the blood vessels. Doctors usually recommend this procedure if they detect a transient ischemic attack or other types of strokes. There are certainly other health conditions which greatly increase the chances of stroke such as:

• High blood pressure
• Certain types of diabetes
• High levels of cholesterol
• Persistent history of heart disease and strokes in the family
• Strokes or TIAs
• Abnormal sounds in the carotid arteries, also known as bruit, which can be detected using a stethoscope
• Coronary disease

An Overview of The Treatment Process

The process is relatively simple. During the ultrasound test, a technician (known as a sonographer) carries out a scan using a hand operated device known as a transducer. The transducer produces sound waves that permeates through and bounces off the arteries, producing an echo. The image of this echo is captured and translated into an image on a monitor.

It is based on the concept of sonar. The Doppler ultrasound is a more precise form of this process which highlights the flow of blood through the carotid arteries and not just the structure.

A Doppler carotid ultrasound typically takes 30 minutes and requires you to lie down on your back with your neck exposed. It is advised to wear light and comfortable clothing with a wide or exposed neck.

The sonographer will ask you to align your head several times to get a complete and clear scan. A warming gel is usually applied on the skin above the carotid arteries which aids in the conduction of sound waves. Subsequently, the transducer is gently pressed against the treatment area to scan the arteries.

Things You Can do to Reduce the Risks of Stroke

If the ultrasound detects any abnormalities or risks of stroke, then apart from the prescribed medication or therapies, there are certain things you can do on your own to improve the health of your blood vessels. This includes having a wholesome diet, performing regular exercise, avoiding cigarettes and alcohol, and using surgeries to reduce carotid fat and plaque.

Leading a healthy life with routine medical checkups can also prevent the chances of stroke and other related problems.

Contact Our Office

If you are concerned that you or a loved one have a high risk of stroke or you have suffered from one in the past, the Carotid Doppler ultrasound can help give you peace of mind. Contact Houston Cardiovascular Institute to schedule an appointment for an evaluation and screening with Dr. Shehzad Sami today.