Carotid Doppler in Stroke Treatment
Carotid Doppler in stroke treatment is a non-invasive test that is used to detect narrowing or constricting of the arteries. It is a type of ultra sound that aids in the diagnosis of arteriosclerosis- which is the slow collection of plaque in the arteries that carry blood from the heart to other parts of the body.
The term ‘carotid’ refers to the arteries in the neck and ‘doppler’ refers to the sound wave imaging technology. Hence, carotid Doppler in stroke treatment is conducted on a patient’s neck to indicate build up of debris, white blood cells, fatty acids and cholesterol. Together these substances can cause carotid artery occlusion, and thus, increasing the chances of suffering a stroke.
Conducting a carotid Doppler is an important procedure in the detection and prevention of a stroke. Since the arteries in the neck lead up the brain and the skull, scanning these gives a clear picture of whether a patient has a high grade of carotid stenosis. If yes, the CD test can ring alarm bells for doctors who warn the patient that the chances of suffering from a stroke are higher than normal.
A stroke results when a blockade in the large carotid artery stops the flow of blood to the sensitive tissues of the brain. These tissues, when deprived of oxygen, stop functioning and can get damaged easily. Therefore, it is imperative to detect a blockage in the carotid artery if a stroke is to be pre-empted.
Signs and Symptoms of Blocked Carotid Artery
When does a carotid Doppler in stroke treatment become necessary? Doctors determine the need for this test based on the patient’s condition and whether or not symptoms have started to appear. In most cases, signs and symptoms of blocked carotid artery are invisible because the plaque in the artery has not yet grown enough to hinder the flow of blood.
In this instance, an individual may not even know that there is a blockage in his carotid artery. It is only when this arteriosclerotic plaque obstructs blood flow that the onset of symptoms is experienced. The signs and symptoms of blocked carotid artery include the following:
• Numbness and stiffness of the face and limbs. This is usually felt on one side of the body, i.e. the side on which the carotid artery occlusion is present.
• Problems with vision. Patients can experience trouble seeing with both eyes clearly.
• Difficulty speaking and understanding conversations because the carotid blockade can affect the brain’s ability to decipher words.
• Loss of balance is another common symptom. Feeling dizzy and being unable to walk is a result of lack of coordination between muscle tissues.
• Sharp and severe headaches that have no known cause. These headaches come and go suddenly.
How Does A Carotid Doppler In Stroke Treatment Work?
Since carotid Doppler in stroke is a type of ultrasound, it uses extensive machinery and a special probe that is used to scan the neck. Also called the transducer, this small device is handled by an expert sonographer who connects it to the ultrasound machine. Typically, the entire procedure takes 20-30 mins.
When patients undergo a carotid Doppler, they lay down flat on their back, with their head on a pillow. The sonographer tilts the patient’s head away from the side of the neck to be scanned first. A jelly-like lubricant is applied to the targeted side and the transducer is then moved back and forth over this region to detect the flow of blood and any obstructions.
In this process, high frequency sound waves are emitted, which enter the target area and then bounce back. Their motion and speed are recorded on a computer that generates images of the carotid arteries. Using carotid doppler in stroke treatment, a sonographer can get enough images of these blood vessels and record the speed at which blood is flowing in them in the form of graph.
Both these variables are important indicators of carotid artery occlusion and high-grade carotid stenosis. Once completed, a radiologist who prepares a report for a patient’s doctor reviews the carotid Doppler results. Both specialists then decide on the extent of blockade and the risks involved.
Neck scan is also completed after a patient suffers a stroke to check on the condition of the carotid arteries. Carotid Doppler in stroke treatment reveals whether the arteries are still blocked, how narrow they are and if worsening of the signs and symptoms of stroke can be predicted.
What Happens After The Carotid Doppler in Stroke Treatment?
Once the test results have been studied, the doctors decide whether any immediate action is needed or the plaque can be restricted with non-invasive changes. A stroke can be delayed by implementing the following healthy habits.
• Eating more fruits, whole grains and vegetables to reduce the intake of cholesterol and fatty acids.
• Exercising regularly is very important because it helps an individual stay within the healthy weight parameters. Obesity is also linked with high-grade carotid stenosis because excess fat molecules get deposited within the artery walls easily.
• Avoiding smoking, which is a prime cause of plaque build up. Apart from cholesterol, the plaque inside the arteries is composed of debris from smoking and the white blood cells that are released to fight off these foreign particles.
On the other hand, carotid stenosis endarterectomy is the surgical procedure that doctors opt for when the removal of plaque from the inner artery walls becomes necessary. If this plaque is growing at a high rate, the above-mentioned preventive techniques are not enough. Carotid stenosis endarterectomy is performed on the arteries in the neck to clean them up and make room for blood to flow without any hindrance.
Similarly, carotid angioplasty is the surgical procedure for opening up and providing support for the carotid arteries. If the carotid Doppler in stroke treatment suggests a high chance of risk, this procedure can be performed before the blockade affects the brain cells.