Carotid & Subclavian Ultrasound

At San Tan Cardiovascular Center, we routinely perform ultrasound of the carotid and subclavian arteries to detect blockages and plaque build ups in these vessels that supply blood to important parts of our brain.

The subclavian arteries supply blood from the thoracic aorta to the carotid arteries and finally to the brain. Your two carotid arteries are located on each side of your neck. They deliver blood from your heart to your brain.

Patient receiving carotid ultrasound

If left untreated, blocked carotid arteries can lead to a stroke. Carotid ultrasound scanning is a safe, painless procedure that uses sound waves to examine the blood flow through the carotid arteries.

Subclavian arteries can also have plaque buildup within them which results in restricting blood flow. If there is a suspicion you could have a blockage in the subclavian arteries, a CT Scan or angiogram will be ordered.

Carotid & Subclavian Ultrasound at San Tan Cardiovascular Center

After performing an ultrasound, if the degree of the blockage is severe, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the obstructing plaque (this is called an Endarterectomy).

Sometimes, stent placement is also used for treatment of these blockages, particularly the subclavian arteries.

How do I get started?

Contact San Tan Cardiovascular Center today to make an appointment with one of our healthcare providers.

At this appointment:

  • we will review your medical history, discuss your symptoms and perform a non-invasive, diagnostic test to further determine your medical condition,
  • any pertinent testing that needs to be done beforehand will also be ordered at this time.

Our billing department will then contact your health insurance company to obtain prior authorization.  Upon receiving insurance authorization, the test will be scheduled.

Carotid & Subclavian Ultrasound FAQs

Q:  When should I get a Carotid Ultrasound?

A: Your doctor may order this test if you present with symptoms or if you have a history that could indicate you have a higher chance of plaque build-up.

These risk factors could be:

  • Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Family history (genetics)
  • High cholesterol (hyperlipidemia)
  • Obesity
  • You have a history of a stroke

This could mean you may have increased plaque deposits in these vessels that could impair the adequate flow of blood to your brain.

Q:  What are the symptoms of carotid diseases? 

A:  These include TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack) which is a stroke that lasts only a few minutes, weakness, speech impairment, paralysis, memory loss, etc.