Carotid duplex

What is Carotid Duplex?

Carotid duplex is a non-invasive ultrasound imaging method which is used to measure blood flow through the carotid artery of a person. It measures the velocity and direction of the flow, and it also checks any irregularities in the blood vessels. It is a simple and fast examination that enables a diagnosis of stroke, narrowing of the artery, or blood clots. This examination is done in hospital or clinic settings, and it helps in making informed clinical decisions.

What are the Types of Carotid Duplex?

There are three types of carotid duplex:

  • Transthoracic: It is used to detect a blood clot or stenosis of the artery. It is done without the use of radiation.
  • Transesophageal: It is used to detect blood clots in the neck area. It is done using an endoscope inserted into the throat.
  • Intravascular: This is used to detect intravascular clotting, i.e. clots that have progressed further down the artery.

What is the Preparation for a Carotid Duplex?

Your doctor may ask you to make certain preparations for the carotid duplex. These may include:

  • Avoid wearing any jewelry like earrings or necklaces.
  • Remove any clothing or hair accessories that may get in the way of the ultrasound waves.
  • Avoid eating a heavy meal prior to the examination.
  • Avoid taking any medications or supplements that may thin the blood.

What is the Procedure of Carotid Duplex?

The procedure for a carotid duplex is simple and straightforward. It is performed by a qualified medical professional. The procedure is as follows:

  • You will be asked to lie down on a bed or table in a comfortable position.
  • A lubricating gel will be applied to the neck area.
  • The medical professional will then carefully move a device called a transducer over the neck area.
  • The transducer emits sound waves, and these waves will be used to create an image of the carotid artery.
  • The procedure usually lasts for more than 30 minutes, and it is painless.

What are the Risks of Carotid Duplex?

Carotid duplex is a safe and effective procedure. There are minimal risks associated with the procedure, and these include:

  • Pain or discomfort during the procedure.
  • Bruising or bleeding in the neck area.
  • Infection at the site.
  • Allergy to the gel or transducer.
  • Damage to the artery or surrounding organs.

Why is Carotid Duplex Used?

Carotid duplex is used for the early detection and diagnosis of narrowing of the carotid artery, blood clots, and stroke. Many conditions like diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure can lead to stroke and the associated narrowing of the carotid artery. Carotid duplex helps to diagnose these conditions at an early stage, enabling timely treatment and preventing further health complications.

When is Carotid Duplex Recommended?

Carotid duplex is recommended in a number of medical situations, including:

  • If you have stroke symptoms, such as slurred speech or blurred vision.
  • If you have a family history of stroke.
  • If you are over the age of 50.
  • If you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure.
  • If you are a smoker.
  • If you have a sedentary lifestyle.
  • If you are at an increased risk of stroke.