Carotid Artery Duplex

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Case Narrative

Patient came to her appointment as part of a standard pre-operative evaluation for removal of a uterine myoma. She had a history of stroke with residual slurred speech, making it difficult to understand her. Accordingly, I assumed I would see some carotid stenosis, but her ultrasound showed a stunning 70-99% stenosis in her right internal carotid artery and full occlusion of her left internal carotid artery.

Flow in the common carotid arteries looked fine. The plaque itself in the internal carotid arteries was relatively hypoechoic and not easily visualized in brightness mode, so bidirectional color flow at the proximal internal carotid arteries was surprising. Adding power Doppler allowed me to conclude that there was presence of flow on the right, though minimal, and absolutely no flow in the left internal carotid artery.

Upon completion of the exam, I called the ER and spoke with the doctor, who asked me to bring Rose to the ER. Unfortunately, due to the location of the right internal carotid artery stenosis in the bony canal and total occlusion of the left internal carotid artery, surgery was not an option for clearing out the carotid plaque, but doctors believed she could continue functioning well with collateral vasculature carrying blood to her brain.

Thankfully, the patient passed her other pre-operative tests, consented to her surgery, and underwent general anesthesia with no complications. An 8-cm mass was removed from her uterus and her prognosis is good.