What Do the Results of a Carotid Doppler Scan Mean?

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The carotid Doppler scan is a special type of ultrasound that can be used to check for blockages in the blood vessels that supply your brain. If these arteries are narrowed or blocked then it can increase the chances that you will have a stroke. You may require treatment if a problem is detected during the carotid Doppler scan in order to reduce this risk and ensure a good blood supply for your brain.

carotid doppler scan

Understanding Your Results

If no evidence of narrowing is detected in the carotid arteries then your scan results will be reported as normal. However, if the blood flow through these vessels is impaired, the result will usually be given as a percentage. For example, if the doctor tells you that you have 50% stenosis then the blood flow is only half the normal amount. If there is any amount of blockage (or stenosis) then you may need treatment. The best treatment approach will depend on the extent of the blockage and whether you are experiencing any symptoms.

Next Steps

The results of your carotid Doppler scan will be explained in detail by your doctor, who will also be able to recommend any treatment that is needed. If there is only a small amount of stenosis and you aren’t experiencing symptoms then you may only require lifestyle changes or medication to reduce your stroke risk. For example, the doctor may recommend a daily dose of aspirin and some changes to your diet. However, if the stenosis is above about 50% or you’re experiencing symptoms, you may need surgery to clear the blockage or hold open the artery. You will need to discuss the various treatment options with your doctor in order to find the best approach for you.