Carotid Artery Ultrasound

The purpose of a Carotid Artery Ultrasound is to assess the stroke risk from carotid artery stenosis, or narrowing of the carotid arteries. These are the main arteries in the neck that supply blood to the brain.

What will happen during the test?

The Carotid Artery Ultrasound takes approximately 1 hour. The ultrasound is accomplished by placing a transducer on your neck with a small amount of ultrasound gel. The transducer sends sound waves through your neck to the carotid arteries and back. Then, with the aid of computer software and a monitor, we are able to image arteries.

In conjunction with this imaging, we will assess the blood flow with both pulsed Doppler and Color Flow Doppler, which measure the speed and direction of the blood flow. By assigning color to the direction of blood flow, called Color Flow Mapping, large areas of blood flow may be studied which allows abnormal blood flow characteristics to be interpreted by the cardiologist.

After you leave the laboratory, the technologist will document measurements from the images. An Upstate Cardiology physician will review the images and measurements. 

How do I prepare for a Carotid Ultrasound?

If you routinely take any medications, continue taking them as prescribed.

What should I bring with me for the Carotid Artery Ultrasound appointment?

  • Insurance card
  • Referral for the test, if required by your insurance company

Once your appointment has been scheduled, it is very important that you keep that appointment. If you are unable to do so, please give the office at least 24 hours notice of your cancellation. Our busy schedule requires tight scheduling restrictions, and it would be appreciated if you would notify our office if you will be late for your appointment. Thank you for your cooperation.

Who will give me the test results?

If your test was ordered by a provider who is not an Upstate Cardiology physician, you will receive your test results from the provider who ordered your test. If there is a critical finding on your test, Upstate Cardiology will notify you within 24 hours of your test and will also make sure the ordering provider is aware. Otherwise, if you have not heard from your provider and it has been two weeks since your test, we recommend that you call the provider who ordered the test to seek results.

If an Upstate Cardiology physician ordered your test, you will receive and review your test results with your cardiologist at a follow up visit for that purpose, unless your cardiologist indicated that he or she will call you with your results. If your diagnostic test reveals a critical finding, we will call you within 24 hours of your test to expedite your care and follow-up. If you've not heard from or seen us within 2 weeks of your test, please call 864-235-7665.