Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ultrasound of Neck Predicts Who Will Have a Stroke

Ultrasound scanning of neck
Aug. 17, 2011 -- Two noninvasive imaging tests may help determine which people with a narrowing of arteries in the neck will need surgery to reduce their future risk of stroke, a study suggests.
A narrowing of the carotid arteries in the neck is known as asymptomatic carotid stenosis (ACS). "Asymptomatic" means the patient does not experience any symptoms.
Carotid arteries in the neck deliver blood to the brain. They typically become narrowed when plaques build up in the inner lining of the arteries.
There is some uncertainty within the medical community on how to best identify people with ACS who are at high risk for stroke and need surgery or stenting to open their carotid arteries as opposed to treatment with medication.
In a  two-year study of 435 people with severe ACS, researchers used ultrasound to assess the quality and composition of the plaque in the carotid arteries and a Doppler ultrasound test to look for the presence of tiny blood clots or particles called microemboli that may break off from the arteries and travel to the brain, causing stroke.
The study is published in Neurology.