Cerebrovascular (Carotid) Arteries

Why am I having this Ultrasound examination?

The cerebro-vascular investigation is a non-invasive method of checking the arteries in your neck which supply blood to the brain. Your doctor has requested this examination for you because you may have one or more of the following presentations:

  • a recent stroke (cerebro-vascular accident/CVA) or mini-stroke (transient ischaemic attack/TIA)
  • pins and needles (parasthesia) on one side of your face or in one arm or leg
  • difficulty with speech, memory, or ability to swallow
  • transient visual disturbance affecting one eye
  • loss of balance, vertigo or dizziness
  • family history of stroke
  • known arterial disease elsewhere in your body (coronary or leg arteries) 
  • known cerebro-vascular disease
  • previous treatment for carotid artery blockage (a stent or an endarterectomy) 
  • a sound (bruit) noted when doctor examined the side of your neck with a stethoscope

What arteries will be checked in this examination?

  • Internal Carotid Artery
  • External Carotid Artery
  • Common Carotid Artery
  • Vertebral Artery
  • Subclavian Artery

What happens during the examination?

There is no dietary preparation required. This ultrasound scan is performed with you lying on an examination couch so you should be quite comfortable. It is a good idea to wear clothing that can be loosened around the neck area rather than a high or tight collar, and you may be asked to remove any jewelry, such as necklaces or earrings. The sonographer will place some gel on your skin; you will feel the gentle pressure of the transducer, and you will hear the sound of the Doppler from time to time, but there should be no major discomfort. If you do have any questions or concerns, please ask the sonographer before he or she begins.

How long will the examination take?

The cerebro-vascular investigation will take approximately half an hour.

When will I get my results?

The sonographer does not usually give you your results at the time of your examination, however your doctor will receive your scan results within 2 days. If you have an appointment already booked with your referring doctor, please advise the sonographer at the time of your scan. Urgent results are always sent back to your doctor within 24 hours.

Download the Patient Information Brochure