Carotid Doppler (Carotid Ultrasound)

A carotid doppler is an imaging test. It helps your doctor evaluate your carotid arteries. This test:

  • Is safe and painless.
  • Can be done in a hospital, test center, or doctor’s office.
  • Bounces harmless sound waves (ultrasound) off the carotid artery. A transducer (device that looks like a microphone) is used.
  • Helps determine the blockage (stenosis) in the carotid artery.

Before Your Carotid Doppler

Discuss any questions or concerns you have with your doctor.

  • Mention any over-the-counter or prescription medications, herbs, or supplements you’re taking.
  • Allow extra time for checking in.
  • Wear a two-piece outfit for the test. You may be asked to remove clothing and jewelry from the waist up. If so, you’ll be given a short hospital gown.

During Your Carotid Doppler

Most carotid dopplers take 20-30 minutes.

  • A transducer coated with cool gel is moved over your neck. This device creates the sound waves that make images of your artery.
  • The transducer may also be used to do a Doppler study. This test measures the direction and speed of blood flowing through the artery. During the test, you may hear a “whooshing” sound. This is the sound of blood flowing through the artery.
  • The images of your carotid artery are stored electronically. This is so your doctor can review them later.

After Your Carotid Doppler

Return to normal activity unless your healthcare provider tells you otherwise.

  • Be sure to keep follow-up appointments.

Your Test Results

Your doctor will discuss your test results with you during a future office visit. The test results help the doctor plan your treatment and any other tests that are needed.