Carotid Doppler Test

(Also called Doppler ultrasound)

A carotid Doppler is an imaging test that uses ultrasound to examine the carotid arteries located in the neck. This test can show narrowing or possible blockages due to plaque buildup in the arteries due to coronary artery disease.


Output from a carotid Doppler test
Output from a carotid Doppler test.

An ultrasound probe is placed on the patient’s neck and high frequency sound waves are used to create images of the arteries. Doppler technology is used to analyze the speed and direction of blood flow. The images are displayed on a monitor and are digitally recorded.

  1. A sonographer will explain the test to you and answer any questions you may have.
  2. You will be asked to lie flat on an examination table, with your head on a pillow, slightly turned away from the side being examined.
  3. The sonographer will apply some gel to a small ultrasound probe and position it on one side of your neck. In order to obtain good quality images, it is necessary to apply some pressure with the probe.
  4. You will hear sounds due to the Doppler.
  5. Images of the arteries will be recorded and various measurements will be taken.
  6. The data will be reviewed by a cardiologist and a report will be sent to the doctor(s) involved in your care. 
Patient Instructions 
  • There is no specific preparation required for a carotid Doppler. You can eat and drink as usual prior to the test. Continue all prescription medications as you normally would.
  • There are no restrictions after the carotid Doppler.
Special Instructions 

The patient should bring along a list of current medications. Fasting (not eating) before the test is not required.

Additional Info 
  • When you come to the Heart Institute, please check in with central registration in the front lobby. Then proceed to the S-Level and wait in the waiting room for your name to be called.
  • The carotid Doppler usually takes 30 to 45 minutes to complete.
  • If you have any questions prior to your carotid Doppler, please call 613-696-7066, Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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