Duplex ultrasound for testing the neck arteries

Duplex ultrasound testing of the neck arteries is quick, easy and painless and it does not involve radiation. It is also very reliable.

What does the test examine?

Ultrasound is an excellent method for examining the neck arteries. During the examination, the vessel wall is evaluated, along with the “intima-media complex” and the blood flow in the various arteries, including the external and internal common carotid arteries and the vertebral arteries. Doppler ultrasound can be used to detect and measure dilatation (aneurysm) or narrowing (arteriosclerosis).

How does the test work?

The ultrasound transducer is placed on the skin over the carotid arteries. The transducer produces images (cross-sections) of the arteries. Doppler technology transforms blood flow into both audio and visual signals. The test can be carried out in a matter of minutes. During the test, the patient lies comfortably on his or her back.

What is the purpose of the test?

Ultrasound of the carotid arteries measures the thickness of the vessel wall and also detects calcifications. It is thus possible to evaluate the individual risk for cardiovascular disease. Vessel narrowing, referred to as “stenosis,” can be identified and measured in order to initiate treatment if necessary.

Who should be tested?

Patients who are at risk for arterial problems should have the carotid arteries examined at regular intervals. For stroke patients, testing the arteries of the neck is a standard procedure for ruling out stenosis. After surgery or stent placement, the postoperative results should be monitored regularly. In patients with a pathological condition, regular follow-up may be necessary.

Treating narrowing (stenosis) of the carotid arteries

The professional medical associations have drawn up guidelines for testing for stenosis of the carotid arteries. In most cases, a blood thinner such as aspirin should be prescribed.

After assessment by a neurologist, the procedures (surgery, catheterization) should be performed at specialized centers. Our practice will refer you to the appropriate facility