A carotid artery ultrasound is a test which utilizes high frequency sound waves to obtain images of your carotid arterial system. This test is used to determine if there are any problems associated with the carotid vessels. The technologist will apply an acoustic gel on the neck. Then, a painless instrument called a transducer is gently moved across the neck to visualize the inside of the carotid arteries.
During the test you will be asked to lie on your back (if possible), while a trained technician records the images made by the ultrasound system. The test usually takes less than 45 minutes. A carotid artery ultrasound does not hurt and there are no documented complications from the use of this type of ultrasound. During the test you may hear several strange noises coming from the machine. Do not become alarmed; these noises are actually the sound of blood moving through your body.
For three hours prior to the exam you should not smoke or use nicotine products. Avoid coffee, tea and all caffeine products. Please wear loose clothing around the neck.
The technician will not discuss any findings or conclusions about the test with you. Your personal physician is responsible for providing you with this information.
Download Patient Instructions
Click here to download and print a copy of instructions and information. Add the date and time of your appointment and hang it on your refrigerator or bulletin board as a reminder of your test and pre-test instructions.