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Test: Carotid Doppler Scanning

Carotid Doppler scanning uses ultrasound to look at the flow of blood through blood vessels in the neck. The procedure is generally used to investigate disorders such as transient ischaemic attacks or stroke. Ultrasound waves from a transducer produce a picture of the blood flow, which can reveal narrowing of the carotid blood vessels in the neck. The procedure takes about 20 minutes and is painless and safe.

Having a scan

The technician applies a gel to the skin before slowly and gently moving a Doppler transducer over the neck in the area of the carotid arteries. During the procedure, the technician views images of the arteries displayed on a monitor.

Results

Carotid Doppler scan

This ultrasound image shows the blood flow through a branched carotid artery. After the blood passes through a narrowed section of the artery, the flow becomes disrupted.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

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