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Carotid Scan Banner

Carotid Scan

What is the doctor looking for?

Physicians recommend a carotid scan to detect whether the artery has become stenotic (hardened), clotted, or occluded (narrowed or plugged).


What is the test?

A carotid scan, also known as a carotid duplex, is a type of ultrasound test that assesses blood flow through the carotid artery - a very large artery that runs up from the aorta to the brain. You will be asked to lie on your back. A technician will then rub a gel on the skin around your neck, then move a transducer, a small device that directs the high-frequency sound waves, to the arteries being tested, back and forth on the surface of your skin. The combination of the transducer and the gel creates images of your carotid artery on a monitor. This test is painless and non-invasive.


Where are the tests done?

A carotid scan is typically performed in the vascular lab of the hospital by a vascular sonographer.


May I eat or drink?



What about medications?

You may take your medications as prescribed by your physician.


Will I have an IV?

No. A carotid scan is non-invasive and painless.


Do I need special clothing?

No, but it is best to avoid high-neck clothing that would need to be removed for the test.


What should I bring to the test?



How long does the test take?

The entire test takes approximately 20-30 minutes, after which time you are released and can resume normal activities.


When will the results be ready?

Results are generally available to your physician within 48 hours.


Tell your doctor/nurse if you have …

Any known carotid artery disease, or any symptoms during the test.


Will the test make me sick or sleepy?

No. A carotid scan is non-invasive and painless.


Will I receive any radiation during the procedure?

No, you will not be able to drive, so please make arrangements for someone who can drive you home after you leave the hospital.


Will I be able to drive after the procedure?



What if I am pregnant or breast-feeding?

There are no risks if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

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