Carotid Duplex Exam

A Carotid Duplex Exam is a test to check the carotid arteries for narrowing or blockage. Ultrasound is used to get pictures of the arteries and a Doppler signal is used to evaluate the speed of flow of the blood through the arteries.

What are carotid arteries?

The carotid arteries are a pair of arteries situated on either side of the neck which carry blood to the head and share in the circulation of blood to the brain.

Why is this test done?

This test may be ordered because of dizziness, syncope, vision problems, numbness in limbs or if the doctor heard a noise in your neck through a stethoscope called a bruit.

What do I need to do to prepare for the test?

No special preparations are needed.

What happens during the test?

  • You will be asked to lay flat on the bed with your head turned to the side.
  • The lights will need to be dim so the screen on the ultrasound machine can be seen properly.
  • The sonographer will use a probe, called a transducer, with a small amount of gel on your neck in the area of your carotid arteries.
  • Ultrasound images will appear on the screen, and you may hear a pulsating sound during the test.

How long does the test last?

The test takes approximately 30 minutes.

Are there any side effects?


How do I get the results?

A vascular physician will interpret the test and a final report will be made available to your physician.

If you have more questions about this test or other cardiac or vascular concerns, call 217-788-3705.