What it’s for
When fatty deposits build up on the arteries in your neck, arms or legs, these blood vessels can begin to narrow or harden. This is called peripheral vascular disease.
Depending on the location of the lesion, peripheral vascular disease can lead to strokes, transient ischemic attacks (TIA) or pain in the legs during walking (claudication).
Carotid and vascular extremity testing can help to identify peripheral vascular disease and help guide your doctor in its treatment.
How it’s done
The primary test for carotid artery disease is ultrasound. This is a non-invasive and completely painless way for your doctor to assess the blood flow through important arteries.
In the case of a carotid ultrasound, a sensor is placed on the side of your neck. In the case of a leg ultrasound, the probe is placed on the outside of your legs. Sound waves are then bounced off your blood vessels, creating a picture of the blood flowing through them and revealing any blockages.
This test typically takes from 30 to 60 minutes.