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A carotid doppler is a painless ultrasound test to measure the flow of blood through your carotid arteries.

You have two carotid arteries. They are the main arteries that supply blood and oxygen to your head and neck. Due to a build-up of plaque, your carotid arteries can become narrowed causing a restricted flow of blood called carotid artery disease. This could lead to a stroke.

Your consultant may recommend a carotid doppler test if you have had a previous stroke or they feel you may be at risk of having a stroke.

What happens during a carotid doppler?

A carotid doppler takes 15-30 minutes. An ultrasound scanner is used. The scanner uses the same technology as the sonar used by ships. During your scan a probe will be passed over both sides of your neck. The sound waves bounce off your arteries and are passed back through the microphone to a computer. The computer measures these sound waves and the changes in frequency. The echo will be different in areas where the artery has narrowed.

A clear gel will be spread on both sides of your neck. This gel helps to transmit the sound waves to the probe. The probe will be pressed onto your skin and moved back and forth over your neck.

Your carotid doppler test will be recorded and then analysed by a consultant radiologist. The results should be with your consultant in a few days.

You should be able to go home and resume normal activities shortly after your test.


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