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Doppler carotid (Doppler ultrasound imaging)


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Carotid arteries are the vessels present on each side of the neck that supply oxygenated blood to the brain, face, scalp as well as the neck. Doppler carotid is an ultrasound procedure used to determine flow of blood through the carotid artery.


When is Doppler carotid recommended?

Since Doppler carotid evaluates blood flow through carotid arteries, it’s recommended to diagnose narrowing of arteries caused by deposition of plaque. It can also be suggested by your doctor if you had a stroke or is at risk of having stroke due complications in the blood flow through the arteries. This can further help doctors to take preventive measures.


How is carotid Doppler test performed?

The basic technique is similar to that of any ultrasound process. But in Doppler carotid, the transducer (the ultrasound device) is passed over the carotid artery of the neck to produce image of the blood in motion. The transducer sends sound waves that get reflected from the blood cells. When the blood cells are moving they induce change in pitch of the reflected sound waves. This is known as the Doppler effect. The sound waves are amplified through a microphone and are then processed in the computer in the form of graphs.

The pattern of graphs indicates the nature of blood flow through the carotid arteries. The pitch of sound waves emitted doesn’t change when there’s no blood flow.


How to prepare for Doppler carotid?

No preparations like change in diet, medicines, etc. are needed before the test. You will need to take off jewellery from your neck or other things that might interfere with the test.

You may be asked to change your dress with a gown provided by the health care provider and you must lie down still on the table. Your doctor may ask you to raise your neck slightly to gain better access to the carotid artery.

A soluble gel is applied over the neck before moving the transducer.


How does Doppler carotid feel like?

Since it’s a non invasive technique, you don’t have to worry about pain. You might sense some pressure on the neck when the transducer is moved.

Other than that, you can hear the amplified sounds emitted from the device due to movement of blood.


What to expect after the test?

The test takes 15-30 minutes for completion and you can get back to normal work after it. The test reports will be interpreted by the ultrasonographer who will further send it to the concerned cardiologist for evaluation. The test reports will be delivered to you within a day or two.


Are there any risks associated with Doppler carotid?

There are no risks of the procedure.

After the reports are interpreted by your doctor, you need to fix an appointment not only to collect the reports but also to know the next plan of action. The follow up treatment plan will completely depend on the problems evaluated in the test reports.

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Written by: healthplus24.com, team
Date last updated: Feburary 11, 2014