Carotid duplex is an ultrasound test that shows how well blood is flowing through the carotid arteries. The carotid arteries are located in the neck. They supply blood to the brain.
The test is done in a vascular lab or radiology department of a hospital. You will be asked to lie on your back. Your head will be supported to prevent it from moving.
The health care provider applies a water-soluble gel on your skin and gently runs a handheld device called a transducer over the area of the carotid arteries in your neck.
The device sends high-frequency sound waves to the arteries in your neck. The sound waves bounce off the blood vessels and form images or pictures of the insides of the arteries.
No preparation is necessary.
You may feel some pressure as the probe is moved around your neck. The pressure should not cause any pain. You may also hear a "whooshing" sound.
The carotid duplex test checks blood flow in the carotid arteries. It can detect:
Your doctor may order this test if:
The results will tell your doctor how open or narrowed your carotid arteries are. For example, the arteries may be 10% narrowed, 50% narrowed, or 75% narrowed.
A normal result means there is no problem with the blood flow in the carotid arteries. The artery is free of any blockage, narrowing, or other problem.
Note: Value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.
An abnormal result means the artery may be narrowed, or something is changing the blood flow in the carotid arteries. This is a sign of atherosclerosis or blood vessel conditions.
In general, the more narrowed the artery is, the higher your risk for stroke.
Depending on the results, your doctor may want you to:
See the article on atherosclerosis for further treatment information.
There are no specific risks related to having this procedure.
Scan - carotid duplex; Carotid ultrasound; Carotid artery ultrasound; Ultrasound - carotid; Vascular ultrasound - carotid; Ultrasound - vascular - carotid