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What is a carotid artery duplex ultrasound?

Carotid artery duplex ultrasound by Mintmedical

A carotid artery duplex ultrasound is a type of Doppler ultrasound that focuses on the carotid arteries, which are the large arteries in the neck that deliver oxygenated blood to the brain. The right common carotid arteries are derived from the brachiocephalic artery, which gives rise to the left common carotid arteries. The left carotid arteries branch off the aorta, the body’s largest artery. Importantly, the carotid arteries are essential for providing the brain with the oxygen and nutrients it needs to function properly.

Doppler ultrasound technology uses sound waves to measure the direction and speed of blood flowing within the arteries, in order to identify a potential blockage. This can be a critical diagnostic tool because carotid artery blockages can lead to a stroke or death.

A carotid artery duplex ultrasound is a fast, painless, and non-invasive procedure performed by a Registered Vascular Technologist. The ultrasound machine includes a video monitor, console, and a handheld device called a transducer, which emits harmless, high-frequency soundwaves to help create images of what is going on inside the body. These images will then be interpreted by a physician to aid in the diagnosis of any potential disease.

Any anomalies could indicate carotid artery disease. Carotid artery disease is a somewhat common, yet serious condition. Ultrasound exams are a quick and effective way to help determine if carotid artery disease is present. For more information on carotid artery disease, click here.


  1. 5 Types of Vascular Ultrasound. Comprehensive Vascular Care.
  2. Carotid Artery. Cleveland Clinic.
  3. Deep Venous Thrombosis Ultrasound Evaluation. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.