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Testing for Carotid Artery Disease – info from a Cardiologist Mesa AZ

When fatty plaque deposits line the carotid arteries, causing blockages and narrowed space, problems can arise.  This condition is known as carotid artery disease and affects a large percentage of the population.  Plaque buildup within the arteries puts those affected at risk for restricted blood supply to the brain resulting in the increased likelihood of stroke. 

The following are tests recommended to assist in the evaluation of carotid artery disease.  These are tests that can help your cardiologist in Phoenix determine the proper treatment plan before further problems develop.

  • Physical Examination

The first routine examination conducted is a physical exam.  The exam allows your doctor to listen to your heart and the noise made by the carotid artery in your neck.  Patients with carotid artery disease exhibit a swishing and swooshing sound in the neck.  This sound is characteristic of narrowing carotid arteries due to plaque build up.

  • Doppler Ultrasound

One of the most effective, common and non-invasive techniques used to determine carotid artery disease is the use of ultrasound.  The Doppler ultrasound is slightly different than the traditional ultrasound in that is bounces high frequency sound waves off of the red blood cells in order to determine if there is a narrowing of the passageway in the blood vessel.

  • Computerized Tomography

There are several techniques involved with computerized tomography that can help determine if carotid artery disease exists and the severity of the condition.  The imaging test involves dye that is injected into the blood vessels and revealed through images as it travels toward the carotid artery.  When the dye travels to the carotid arteries, a CT scan collects x-ray images of the neck from a variety of different angles.  Images of the brain may also be collected.

  • CT Imaging of the Head

Computerized tomography of the head gathers imaging of the brain tissue without the use of dye so that the cardiologist may determine if there are any bleeding or other issue

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