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Carotid Artery Screening

Carotid Artery Screening helps detect plaque buildup in one or both of the carotid arteries. These two arteries are large blood vessels in the neck that supply blood to the brain. They can become clogged with plaque and narrow, restricting blood flow. Screening results will help your doctor develop a treatment plan to remove the plaque and help prevent a stroke.

What You Need Know

Candidates for Carotid Artery Screening include men and women age 45 and older with one or more of the following risk factors:

  • Family history of arterial disease (stroke, abdominal aortic aneurysm or heart disease)
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol consumption
  • The exam is performed with ultrasound equipment using high-frequency sound waves. There is no radiation involved.
  • No referral is needed.
  • The screening is not usually covered by insurance.
  • Call your local center for more information.

What To Expect

  • We’ll give you a call before your appointment to talk through preparation instructions and your past imaging exams.
  • If your exam requires contrast, we’ll discuss any special requirements with you.
  • Be sure to tell us if you are pregnant, nursing, or if there is a chance you may be pregnant.
  • On the day of your exam, please arrive 15 minutes early for check-in. If instructed to do so, please bring prior imaging results with you.
  • During the exam, you will lie on your back on a cushioned table.
  • The technologist may position your head to better access the side of your neck.
  • Gel will be applied to your skin. The gel acts as a conductor.
  • A transducer, a hand-held device that sends and receives ultrasound signals, will be moved over the area of your body being imaged.
  • Images will be instantly captured on a monitor and will be sent to a radiologist for review.
  • Once your exam is complete, you do not need to check out with the front desk when you leave.
  • After the exam, your images will be sent electronically to a radiologist who will review the information. We will ask for your doctor’s name in order to send a copy of the results in the event that follow-up care is needed. A report will be sent to your provider, typically within one to two business days.
  • You should follow up with your referring provider to discuss your results.

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