Test for Stroke Risk Ultrasound/No-Radiation (Stroke Scan, Brain Scan)

Cardio-Med offers an ultrasound/no radiation test for stroke risk using both ultrasound and Doppler technology.

The test for stroke risk is also referred to as a carotid artery scan. (The carotid arteries are the two large arteries in the neck.) Other names used are "brain scan" or "stroke scan."

Unlike a carotid artery CT scan or brain CT scan or brain MRI, the test for stroke risk we offer does not involve injection of a tracer dye or use of potentially harmful radiation (X-rays). Yet it provides extremely precise information about carotid artery blood flow and harmful plaque buildup.

This test for stroke (ultrasound and Doppler) examines blockage of the carotid artery. In contrast, a brain CT scan is done to detect brain damage due to stroke.

Because a stroke can have severe consequences, we strongly recommend a periodic carotid artery scan/brain scan for anyone with risk factors such as family history, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. If you've wondered "am I at risk for stroke?" you owe it to yourself to find out.

The test for stroke risk complements the complete physical exam and body scan we offer in-house at Cardio-Med. This suite of tests provides your physician with a full picture of your state of health.


A carotid artery scan using ultrasound and Doppler detects the buildup of plaque in the carotid arteries, which can cause stroke/paralysis. Early diagnosis of plaque can help in risk factor analysis and preventive treatment.

For more information on stroke, view our stroke details article.

What Is Carotid Ultrasound?

A carotid ultrasound/no radiation test for stroke is a painless and harmless test that uses high-frequency sound waves to create pictures of the insides of the two large arteries in your neck. (Not to be confused with a brain CT scan or brain MRI.)

The test for stroke risk shows whether a substance called plaque has narrowed your carotid arteries. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood. Plaque builds up on the insides of your arteries as you age. This condition is called carotid artery disease.

Carotid Artery Scan for Stroke You have two common carotid arteries—one on each side of your neck—that divide into internal and external carotid arteries. Figure A shows the location of the right carotid artery in the head and neck. Figure B is a cross-section of a normal carotid artery that has normal blood flow. Figure C shows a carotid artery that has plaque buildup and reduced blood flow.

Too much plaque in a carotid artery can cause a stroke. The plaque can slow down or block the flow of blood through the artery, allowing a blood clot to form. A piece of the blood clot can break off and get stuck in the artery, blocking blood flow to the brain. This is what causes a stroke.

A standard carotid ultrasound shows the structure of your carotid arteries. The test for stroke usually includes a Doppler ultrasound test that shows the movement of blood through your blood vessels.

Your physician often will need results from both types of ultrasound to fully assess whether there is a problem with blood flow through your carotid arteries.

Cost: $600.00

Wondering "am I at risk for stroke?"
Call (847)758-1230 today for an appointment and consultation with our physician.
Serving Chicago, IL and all of the Chicago northwest suburbs, southeastern Wisconsin and northwestern Indiana.

Adapted from National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute