Ultrasounds, also knows as sonography, uses what we call sound waves to produce an ultrasound image of what is inside of your body. The sounds or echos are recorded in real time to produce images of the size, shape, and consistency of your organs. Ultrasounds have many applications such as echocardiogram, (ECG), stress echocardiogram, and carotid ultrasound.
This test is used to look at how blood flows through the heart chambers, heart valves, and blood vessels. The movement of the blood reflects sound waves to a transducer. The ultrasound computer then measures the direction and speed of the blood flowing through your heart and blood vessels. Doppler measurements may be displayed in black and white or in color.
During this test, an echocardiogram is done both before and after your heart is stressed either by having you exercise or by injecting a medicine that makes your heart beat harder and faster. A stress echocardiogram is usually done to find out if you might have decreased blood flow to your heart (coronary artery disease, or CAD).
A carotid ultrasound is a non-invasive, painless test that uses high-frequency sound waves to image the neck arteries.
Atherosclerosis may occur in the blood vessels in the neck (the “carotid arteries”) which supply blood to the brain. This technique allows us to look for atherosclerotic plaque and to assess whether this plaque is interfering with blood flow to the brain. As the artery narrows, the velocity of the blood flow increases; ultrasound allows us to measure the speed of the blood flow in order to estimate the degree of blockage.