What Does the Electrocardiogram Test Known as an Ultrasound of the Carotid Artery Show?
Heart diseases, such as heart attacks and strokes, have earned the nickname "silent killer" because they don't often have noticeable symptoms. When symptoms do start to become noticeable, the disease has progressed to a point where it may have caused serious, irreversible damage. Luckily, an electrocardiogram diagnostic test known as a carotid artery ultrasound can help.
What is a Carotid Artery Ultrasound?
A carotid artery ultrasound is a simple, non-invasive test that uses high frequency sound waves to produce images of the two main arteries located on the sides of the neck. These imagines, which are shown in real time, can show plaque that is forming in the arteries. The formation of plaque can cause clogs or narrowing of the arteries if left untreated. If the artery becomes too clogged or narrow it can cause a heart attack or stroke.
From start to finish the test takes between 15 to 30 minutes and can provide healthcare professionals with valuable information that can get patients the proper treatment for their heart disease.
Who Should Consider Undergoing This Electrocardiogram Diagnostic Test?
Since heart disease is often asymptomatic, many people believe they should have a carotid artery ultrasound performed "just in case". While performing this test "just in case" may give people peace of mind, it could subject some individuals to undergoing unnecessary testing.
Healthcare providers recommend performing carotid artery ultrasounds on certain individuals who have very specific symptoms, have a previous diagnosis of severe heart disease, or are considered at risk for heart disease.
A good candidate for carotid artery ultrasound may have the following:
- Recently experienced a mini-stroke or a stroke
- Abnormal sounds heard in the artery through a stethoscope
- Potential blood clot in the carotid artery
- A suspected tear or split that has occurred in the walls of the arteries
- Recently underwent a procedure known as a carotid endarterectomy to clear any blockages caused by the buildup of plaque in the arteries
- Recently had a stent placed in the arteries
- Symptoms that indicate the individual to be at risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke in the future
- A family history of heart disease
If you have recently suffered a stroke or heart attack or you are at a high risk for heart disease, you may want to consider scheduling an appointment with a cardiologist to get a carotid artery ultrasound. This diagnostic test could just save a life.
People located in or around the San Luis Obispo area can schedule an appointment at Premier Heart & Vein Care. Dr. Stevens will not only conduct a carotid artery ultrasound right in the office, but he can provide treatment recommendations and advice if anything should show up on the test. Call Premier Heart & Vein Care today to book an appointment.