What is a carotid duplex?

What is a carotid duplex?


A carotid duplex is a non-invasive diagnostic test that uses ultrasound technology to evaluate the carotid arteries in the neck. This procedure provides valuable information about the blood flow in these arteries, helping to detect and monitor conditions such as carotid artery disease and stroke risk. In this article, we will delve deeper into the topic of carotid duplex, exploring its purpose, procedure, and significance in healthcare.

Understanding Carotid Arteries

Before discussing carotid duplex, it is essential to understand the carotid arteries themselves. The carotid arteries are major blood vessels located on each side of the neck, responsible for supplying oxygenated blood to the brain. These arteries can develop atherosclerosis, a condition characterized by the build-up of plaque on the artery walls. If left untreated, atherosclerosis can lead to carotid artery disease, which increases the risk of stroke.

The Purpose of Carotid Duplex

Carotid duplex serves as a diagnostic tool to assess the health and function of the carotid arteries. It combines two ultrasound techniques: B-mode imaging and Doppler ultrasound. B-mode imaging produces detailed images of the carotid arteries, allowing healthcare professionals to visualize any plaque build-up or narrowing of the arteries. Doppler ultrasound, on the other hand, measures the speed and direction of blood flow, providing information about the presence of any blockages or abnormalities.

The Carotid Duplex Procedure

During a carotid duplex examination, the patient lies on an examination table, and a gel is applied to the neck area. The ultrasound technician then uses a handheld transducer, which emits sound waves, to capture images of the carotid arteries. The transducer is moved gently over the neck, capturing different angles and sections of the arteries.

The technician may also use Doppler ultrasound to measure blood flow velocity and detect any abnormalities. This involves placing the transducer at specific locations along the carotid arteries and listening to the sound of the blood flow. The information obtained from both B-mode imaging and Doppler ultrasound is displayed on a monitor in real-time, allowing the technician to assess the condition of the carotid arteries.

Significance in Healthcare

Carotid duplex plays a crucial role in healthcare by providing valuable information for the diagnosis and management of carotid artery disease. It helps identify the presence and severity of plaque build-up, as well as any narrowing or blockages in the carotid arteries. This information is essential in determining the appropriate treatment plan, such as medication, lifestyle changes, or surgical interventions, to reduce the risk of stroke.

Furthermore, carotid duplex is often used to monitor the progression of carotid artery disease over time. Regular follow-up examinations can help healthcare professionals assess the effectiveness of treatment and make necessary adjustments if needed. By detecting changes in the carotid arteries early on, carotid duplex aids in preventing potentially life-threatening complications, such as stroke.


In conclusion, a carotid duplex is a non-invasive diagnostic test that utilizes ultrasound technology to evaluate the carotid arteries in the neck. By providing detailed images and information about blood flow, carotid duplex helps healthcare professionals diagnose and monitor carotid artery disease, as well as assess the risk of stroke. This procedure plays a significant role in healthcare by enabling early detection and appropriate management of carotid artery conditions.


1. Mayo Clinic: mayoclinic.org
2. American Heart Association: heart.org
3. RadiologyInfo: radiologyinfo.org