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Carotid Artery Scan  

Carotid Artery Blockage: Detection and Scans

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States, ranking behind disease of the heart and cancer. Each year about 600,000 people suffer a stroke, and every 3.1 minutes someone dies of stroke. One of the major causes of stroke in the USA is atherosclerosis of the carotid arteries. Over the years, it has been realized that blockage of the carotid artery can result in decrease blood to the brain and hence a stroke. In addition, the plaque build up in the carotid frequently breaks up into small particles; these particles go straight to the brain and are responsible for mini-strokes.

Where is the carotid artery located?

There are two carotid arteries, one on each side of the neck. These two blood vessels supply the majority of the blood to the brain. The carotid artery is located in the neck just above the clavicles. It originates from the heart and supplies blood to the brain. The carotid artery divides in the neck area and it is this location which is very prone to atherosclerosis (fatty plaque builds up). The artery can be felt with the fingers and occasionally the doctor may hear a noise (bruit) with his stethoscope when there is narrowing of the carotid artery.

What tests are available to screen for disease in the carotid artery?

Some physicians recommend contrast studies using CT and EBT technology. However, these tests are not currently the diagnostic standard for the detection of plaque in the carotid arteries. MRI is currently the best screening test to evaluate the carotid artery.

What is the cost of a carotid artery scan?

The average cost of a carotid artery scan is $200. 

By Staff
April 18, 2007

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