Mayo Clinic doctors trained in heart and blood vessel disease (cardiologists) and other doctors work together to evaluate your condition. In Mayo Clinic's efficient system, often you may have all your tests and diagnosis within a few days.
To diagnose your condition, your doctor may review your medical and family history and conduct a physical examination. Your doctor may order several tests to diagnose your condition and determine the severity of your condition.
- Carotid ultrasound. In this test, sound waves create detailed images of the inside of your carotid arteries. This test also shows the structure and blood flow of your carotid arteries.
- Computerized tomography angiogram (CTA). This test creates a series of X-rays to create detailed, 3-D images of your carotid arteries and your brain. Contrast dye is injected into your blood vessels to make them visible on X-rays.
- Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA). In this test, magnetic and radio waves create detailed 3-D images of your carotid arteries and your brain. Contrast dye is injected into your blood vessels to make your arteries visible on the images.
- Carotid angiogram. In this test, doctors insert a thin, flexible tube (catheter) into an artery in your groin and thread it through your blood vessels to your carotid arteries. Contrast dye is then injected into your arteries, which shows the structure and blood flow of your carotid arteries on X-ray images.
Read more about carotid ultrasound, CT angiogram and MRI at MayoClinic.com.