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 Detecting Plaque With Carotid Artery Ultrasound

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Join date : 06.07.2011

ПисанеЗаглавие: Detecting Plaque With Carotid Artery Ultrasound   Чет Юли 14, 2011 11:07 am

When you have plaque buildup in your carotid arteries, you are at risk for a stroke if bits of the plaque break off into the bloodstream. A carotid artery ultrasound is a quick, noninvasive test that helps your doctor take a look at the structure of your carotid arteries. A Doppler ultrasound is a specialized version of the carotid artery ultrasound that shows blood flow.
Worried about your heart health? Find a cardiologist in your area.

Carotid artery ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to create images of the inside of the large arteries on either side of your neck. It may also be called carotid ultrasound or carotid Doppler ultrasound.
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A carotid artery ultrasound can produce a measurement called intima-media thickness (IMT), which tells your doctor how much buildup you have inside a carotid artery. A study of 559 men and women over the age of 70 found that those whose intima-media thickness scores were very high had just over twice the risk of heart disease events such as stroke in comparison to those with low IMT as measured by carotid artery ultrasound. Women were slightly more likely than men to have an increased risk of stroke as their IMT scores increased.

What to Expect During the Test

A carotid artery ultrasound test takes about 30 minutes. You will lie on your back on an exam table, and a doctor or technician will put a gel on your neck to help sound waves from the handheld ultrasound device travel through your skin. The machine senses the echoes of the sound waves as they bounce off the carotid artery wall. This is how the image is created.
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Although a carotid artery ultrasound can yield useful information, it has limited ability to predict heart attack due to coronary artery disease, according to a comparison of the results of carotid artery ultrasound testing, stress testing, and a technique called flow-mediated vasodilation in 103 adults.

When is Carotid Artery Ultrasound Used?

You may need a carotid artery ultrasound if:

* You recently had a stroke or mini-stroke.
* Your doctor listened to your carotid artery with a stethoscope and heard a sound he wants to investigate.
* There is the possibility of a blockage or damage to the carotid artery.
* Your doctor wants to check on carotid artery surgery results.
* You had a stent put in your carotid artery.
* You have stroke risk factors such as unhealthy cholesterol levels or smoking. A carotid artery ultrasound study of 413 adults between 40 and 60 years old showed that those who smoked — especially women who smoked — were more likely to have plaque buildup in a carotid artery, putting them at increased risk for stroke. High cholesterol levels are a risk factor for both stroke and heart disease.

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Benefits of Carotid Artery Ultrasound

The benefits are:

* It is pain-free.
* It only takes about 30 minutes and you can return to your normal activities immediately.
* It will let you know if you have a blockage in your carotid artery without an invasive procedure.

Risks of Carotid Artery Ultrasound

There are no risks to a carotid artery ultrasound.

Although this test is not a strong predictor of your risk of a heart attack, the results of a carotid artery ultrasound can help you and your doctor understand your risk for a stroke, which has been linked to later coronary artery disease diagnosis. In this way, this quick and painless test is a good step towards taking control of your heart disease risk.
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