- Reviewed by Christopher P. Cannon, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Heart Letter; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing
Have you ever gotten a flyer in the mail advertising a "simple, painless ultrasound screening" that can identify dangerous plaque buildup? When offered by commercial companies, these tests are typically done in churches, recreation centers, or mobile vans. But they're also done at accredited medical facilities. One of the tests in the screening looks at the carotid arteries, which run up either side of your neck and supply blood to your brain.
Like arteries in the heart and elsewhere in the body, the carotid arteries can become clogged with fatty deposits (plaque) that narrow the path for blood flow. But contrary to what you might assume, checking for this problem — called carotid stenosis — rarely makes sense, especially with a screening test done by a for-profit company.
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About the Author
Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter
About the Reviewer
Christopher P. Cannon, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Heart Letter; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing
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