Carotid and Transcranial Doppler Studies

Carotid and Transcrainal Doppler studies are used to measure blood flow to the brain. These diagnostic tests may be helpful in diagnosing mini strokes, embolisms and other issues with blood flow to the brain. These tests are helpful for individuals with risk factors for strokes including having:

• High blood pressure

• High cholesterol

• Vascular disease

• Smoking

• Coronary artery disease

Carotid Doppler Ultrasound

This test is used to analyze the carotid arties that are located in the neck. These blood vessels can become blocked due to a number of medical conditions. When blocked, a person’s risk for developing mini strokes or strokes increases.

Transcranial Doppler Ultrasound

This test is used to evaluate blood flow in the arteries located within the skull. The goal is to identify areas were blockages exist in order to assess blood flow. Several tests may be done as a part of the transcranial Doppler ultrasound including:

• TCD bubble study – This test can help to identify issues with the heart and lungs that can ultimately result in a stroke. The goal of the test is to identify if clots in other areas of the body are able to make it to the brain, which can result in stroke. To perform the test, microscopic bubbles are injected elsewhere in the body. The blood flow to the brain is then monitored to determine if the bubbles make it to the brain or are filtered out somewhere else.

• TCD emboli detection study – This test determines if tiny blood clots that move from the heart can cause strokes due to blocking arteries that supply the brain.

During the Test

During these tests a small probe is placed on the skin in order to monitor blood flow. A gel is used to increase the conductivity and ensure a smooth connection. The results of the test are read by a physician and then provided to you. You may be contacted with the results or a follow up visit may be scheduled.

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