What is a Carotid Duplex Scan?

A carotid duplex scan is an ultrasound used to visualise the blood flow and possible narrowing of the vessels that supply blood to your brain.
The test requires an ultrasound probe to be placed on your neck. A series of dynamic images of your carotid arteries will be recorded. From those images, a detailed assessment of your carotid and vertebral arteries is performed. The information is recorded and reviewed by a cardiologist.

Why is a Carotid Duplex Scan done?

Carotid duplex ultrasound scanning is the main investigation for the detection of plaque which may cause narrowing in the arteries that supply blood to the brain, and may lead to strokes or mini-strokes.
Additionally they are frequently performed for follow-up after surgery (endarterectomy) or stenting of the carotid arteries. It is also a useful test to determine whether you are developing vascular disease.

How should I prepare for a Carotid Duplex Scan?

No special preparation is required for the Carotid ultrasound.
You will be lying down, with the neck exposed. You won’t need to undress. Ultrasound gel will be put on your neck and the sonographer will examine the carotid arteries to determine the presence of any plaque and narrowing. During the study you will experience some minor pushing and pressure on your neck, and you will need to tilt your head from side to side. The scan takes about 45 min and is painless and non invasive.
There is no radiation involved