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Carotid duplex is the use of ultrasound — high frequency sound waves — to evaluate blood flow in the carotid artery in the neck. It generates a two-dimensional, black and white picture that shows whether there are any blockages, such as atherosclerotic narrowing or blood clots, in the carotid artery.

Why it is performed

The carotid artery supplies blood to the brain. A carotid duplex is performed to detect narrowings or obstructions (such as clots) in the artery, which increases the likelihood of stroke.

What is experienced?

The sonographer applies a cool, colorless gel to the neck and to the tip of the sonography wand (transducer). The wand is gently rubbed across the patient’s neck. Sounds from the movement of blood and images of the blood flow in the artery are generated. The test is non-invasive and painless.


The patient reclines on an examining table while the sonographer moves the transducer wand slowly along the sides of the neck. Images from the sound waves will appear on a video screen that the sonographer views during the process. Total time is between 15 and 30 minutes.

Post-Procedure care

None. The patient may leave immediately after the test.

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