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What tests can find a blocked artery in the neck?

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Quick Answer

Tests to find a blocked artery in the neck include computed tomography angiography, magnetic resonance angiography and carotid ultrasound, states Healthline. Additional tests include magnetic resonance imaging and head CT scans.

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Full Answer

Before performing any medical test to determine if a person has a blocked artery in the neck, the doctor normally uses a stethoscope to listen for a bruit or swishing sound, according to Healthline. A bruit signals that an artery is narrowed. After a thorough medical and physical examination, the doctor may conduct memory, speech and mental strength tests.

Carotid arteries, which supply blood to the brain and head, are located on each side of the neck, states Healthline. Carotid artery disease occurs when plaque, including fats, cholesterol and calcium, accumulate in the arteries, interfering with the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the brain. High blood pressure, diabetes and a family history of atherosclerosis may increase the risk of developing the disease. Old age and smoking may render a person vulnerable to the disease as well.

Unexpected trouble seeing, sudden numbness on one side of the body and sudden trouble speaking are symptoms of the disease, notes Healthline. Treatment includes taking prescription medications, eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and, in certain cases, undergoing surgery. Maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol consumption and cutting down on the intake of foods that contain high quantities of fats and cholesterol may help prevent the problem.

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