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What is a cerebrovascular exam?
A cerebrovascular exam uses ultrasound to examine blood flow in the neck and arteries that supply the brain (carotid and vertebral arteries). As the blood leaves the heart via the aorta, it circulates through the carotid and vertebral arteries on each side of the neck into the head.
During a cerebrovascular exam, the technologist will pass a transducer over both sides of the neck. The test includes evaluation of the common carotid arteries, external carotid arteries, internal carotid arteries and vertebral arteries. The technologist will look for plaque (atherosclerosis) which may cause a narrowing or blockage of the arteries. Depending on symptoms and the findings, the arteries with in the brain may be evaluated using Transcranial Doppler (TCD), which simply requires placement of a transducer on the side and back of the head, as well as over the closed eyelid. As with all ultrasound studies, there are is no pain or side effects.
What are the common indications for a cerebrovascular evaluation?
Common signs and symptoms indicating the need for a cerebrovascular exam — which are signs of a stroke or mini-stroke — may include one or more of the following:
How long does a cerebrovascular exam take and how should a patient prepare for it?
A cerebrovascular evaluation exam takes up to 45 minutes to complete. The following information will help patients prepare for the exam.
NAVIX's Physician Preceptorship for Interpretation of Non-Invasive Studies is one of a few select programs available in the United States. All attendees of this program who have sat for the Registered Physician Vascular Interpretation (RPVI) exam have passed -that's a 100% pass rate for our participants!
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