Stroke Screenings and Carotid Artery Stenosis
The carotid arteries in your neck provide the main supply of blood to the brain. A
buildup of plaque in these arteries, narrows the artery, or carotid artery stenosis (CAS), can increase
possibility of a stroke.
If you have an increased risk for a stroke, carotid artery screening is a an easy
noninvasive ultrasound procedure to detect abnormalities in the carotid arteries
before other symptoms are present. However, carotid artery stenosis screening is
only recommended for those with two or more common risk factors to a stroke. As a
rare disease, it can be difficult to determine whether or not one is a good candidate
for screening. Here are the signs that this procedure is right for you.
Symptoms & Risk Factors
Having mild symptoms of cardiac disease, such as high blood pressure, may not be
enough to qualify you for carotid screening. According to the American Heart
Association, the American Stroke Association and other healthcare organizations,
carotid screening is recommended for those with two or more of the following risk
● High blood pressure
● High cholesterol
● A first-degree relative with atherosclerosis that developed before age 60
● A family history of ischemic stroke
History of Artery Disease
For some patients, the existence of other common cardiac diseases may also be a
reason to consider screening. A diagnosis or a family history of the following artery
diseases may increase one’s risk of CAS:
● Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
● Coronary Artery Disease
● Aortic Aneurysm
Talking to Your Doctor About CAS
Carotid artery stenosis occurs in roughly 0.5-1% of the general population.
Therefore, screening should only be taken into consideration if the previous
requirements or symptoms of CAS are present. If you are concerned about your risk
of a stroke, ask your doctor if CAS screening is right for you.
The Vascular Lab at Muskegon Surgical Associates offers select free screenings throughout the year. For more information on these dates, or to schedule your carotid or vascular screening, contact our office.