Carotid Duplex Ultrasound

The Vascular Center at Mercy

The Vascular Center at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, offers comprehensive diagnosis and treatment of circulatory system conditions. The Center’s nationally accredited Vascular Laboratory allows our vascular specialists to provide a variety of tests including carotid duplex ultrasound.   

What is a Carotid Duplex Ultrasound?

The carotid arteries are located on both sides of the neck and provide nutrient-rich blood to the brain. If carotid arteries become blocked with plaque (cholesterol deposits), the person may be at risk for mini-stroke or stroke because the blood flow to the brain has been limited. Stroke is similar to a heart attack in your brain. 

A duplex ultrasound is a non-invasive imaging test that vascular physicians prescribe to see how blood is moving through the neck arteries. 

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How is a Carotid Duplex Ultrasound performed?

A carotid duplex ultrasound is performed by a technologist who has been specially trained. A gel substance is placed on the skin of the area being evaluated and a small probe is rubbed over the area to obtain the images. The images are always reviewed by a vascular surgeon. No preparation is required for this test. 


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Who should receive a Carotid Duplex Ultrasound?

Patients are required to obtain a physician prescription for the test. A patient may require this test if:

  • He/she has had a stroke or mini-stroke (TIA).
  • The carotid artery was identified as narrowed or if the patient has had surgery on the artery.
  • The doctor has heard an abnormal sound in the examination of the carotid arteries.