One of the diagnostic procedures Dr. Stevens employs for our patients is the carotid ultrasound. These safe, painless procedures give him a good picture of how blood is flowing through these critical arteries.
What are the carotid arteries?
We have two carotid arteries, one located on each side of our neck. These arteries deliver blood from your heart to your brain and to your face and scalp.
Why do I need a carotid ultrasound?
Dr. Stevens uses this diagnostic test to check to see if your carotid arteries have narrowed due to the buildup of plaque. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances that circulate through the bloodstream. Diagnosing this narrowing can decrease your risk of having a stroke.
If you’re at higher risk of stroke, Dr. Stevens may recommend a carotid ultrasound. These risk factors include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Family history of stroke or heart disease
- Recent transient ischemic attack or stroke
- Abnormal sound in carotid arteries (Dr. Stevens can hear this with a stethoscope)
- Coronary artery disease
What will happen during my carotid ultrasound?
We perform these tests in our offices on Higuera Street in San Luis Obispo. You lie on your back and we place warm gel on your skin above the site of each carotid artery. The gel helps transmit the ultrasound waves back and forth. Our sonographer then gently presses the transducer against the side of your neck.
The transducer emits sound waves and records the echo as the waves bounce off tissues, organs, and blood cells. A computer then translates the echoed sound waves into a live-action image on a monitor. Doppler ultrasound is included, as this shows blood flowing through your arteries.
These tests are painless and take about 30 minutes.
If you’re having issues with your veins or you have a family history of heart disease, we can help you at Premier Heart & Vein Care. Contact us at (805) 540-3333 to set up a consultation.