Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Your doctor is likely to start with a thorough medical history and physical examination. The exam generally includes listening for a swooshing sound (bruit) over the carotid artery in your neck, a sound that's characteristic of a narrowed artery. Your doctor may then test your physical and mental capabilities such as strength, memory and speech.

After that, your doctor may recommend:

  • Ultrasound, to assess blood flow and pressure in the carotid arteries.
  • CT or MRI, to look for evidence of stroke or other abnormalities.
  • CT angiography or MR angiography, which provides additional images of blood flow in the carotid arteries. A contrast dye is injected into a blood vessel, and a CT scan or MRI gathers images of your neck and brain.
Jul. 19, 2014

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