Doctors diagnose clogged neck, or carotid, arteries by physical examination and diagnostic imaging such as magnetic resonance angiography, computerized tomography angiography, ultrasound and cerebral angiography, notes WebMD. Physicians can sometimes detect clogged carotid arteries, called carotid artery disease, by listening to the arteries of the neck with a stethoscope. If the physician hears an abnormal sound, called a bruit, it may indicate turbulent blood flow caused by a narrow or blocked artery.
The most effective diagnostic tool for diagnosing clogged neck arteries is cerebral angiography, also known as carotid angiogram, states WebMD. Cerebral angiography is an invasive procedure that allows a doctor to see blood flow in the carotid arteries in real time. This allows the doctor to see narrowing or blockages on a live X-ray screen.
Carotid arteries are blood vessels that pass from the aorta to the brain through the neck, according to VascularWeb. These arteries provide oxygen-rich blood to the brain. Clogged carotid arteries can cause serious medical problems if untreated. Carotid artery disease is a serious condition that can lead to life-threatening complications such as stroke and transient ischemic attack. It is important to consult a physician with any questions about clogged carotid arteries or any other medical condition.