Blood Vessel Flow Studies
Some tests look at the inside your arteries or at the blood flow, to see where disease is and how severe it is. These include:
Magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA)
Like the MRI scan described, this uses a magnetic field to create a 3D image of the arteries in your neck and brain and can measure the blood flow through them using a dye injected into your arm.
Computerised tomography angiogram (CTA)
Like the CT scan described, this uses X-rays to produce a 3D picture of the arteries in your neck and brain, with the help of some dye injected into your arm.
If it is not possible to see on MRI, an ultrasound scan can help show if there is any narrowing in one or both of the carotid arteries in the neck. These supply blood to the brain and can become narrow (stenosed) or blocked by a build-up of fatty material called atherosclerotic plaque.
A Doppler uses a small probe to send high-frequency sound waves into your body (similar to the scans pregnant women have). When these sound waves bounce back they can be used to create an image of the blood vessels and measure the blood flow.
If the result of the Doppler suggests your symptoms may have been caused by a narrowing of one of the carotid arteries, your doctor will discuss if surgery would be beneficial to you.
Trans Cranial Doppler (TCD)
TCD is a non-invasive ultrasound method used to examine the blood circulation within the brain.
During TCD, sound waves, inaudible to the human ear, are transmitted through the tissues of the skull. These sound waves reflect off blood cells moving within the blood vessels, allowing the operator to calculate their speed. The sound waves are recorded and displayed on a computer screen.