High Cholesterol, should I go for a Ca... - Cholesterol Support

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High Cholesterol, should I go for a Carotid Ultrasound test before any medication?


What Is Carotid Ultrasound?

Carotid (ka-ROT-id) ultrasound is a painless and harmless test that uses high-frequency sound waves to create pictures of the insides of your carotid arteries.

You have two common carotid arteries, one on each side of your neck. They each divide into internal and external carotid arteries.

The internal carotid arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your brain. The external carotid arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your face, scalp, and neck.


Carotid ultrasound shows whether a waxy substance called plaque (plak) has built up in your carotid arteries.

10 Replies

I discussed this scan to my consultant last week. He said he was very keen at first to offer this but he found that he was seeing lovely clean results in the neck when he knew else where they were blocked. For him this only gave results for the neck and not the whole body.

The problem is that they can not check every artery in the body and you just need one blockage or blister to cause the problem.



Did you get the blood velocity numbers? >125 cm/s or 125-230 or <230?

I had life line screening test 2 years ago, thinking of doing another one this year in August.

Waiting for a call from life line screening for explanation on the test results numbers and to ask if the do test in any other part of the body.

My GP did not offer this.

I think I'm right in saying that most NHS hospitals only offer this scanning if you have symptoms.

I was told that particularly in women, the state of the carotid arteries gives a very good indication of the state of the coronary arteries, but I'm not sure who to believe any more! The thickness should be compared to that of other people of the same age and gender to give you a true picture of what state your arteries are in.


Carotid Artery Ultrasound only tells you the state of your carotid arteries. It does not tell you the state of your heart. On top of that, the quality of the results depend on the skill of the operator. Don't assume that anyone doing the scan is properly skilled. If you are looking for real medical excellence, your GP will tell you all you need to know.

malcolmp in reply to Hidden

You must have a very good gp.In my experience most of them are just glorified pill pushers.

Hidden in reply to malcolmp

Sorry, I can't have said it right. GP/Patient ratio means none of them have any time to explain or discuss. So yes, all they do is to prescribe their best guess at our ailments.

What I really meant was that they are properly qualified and their decisions are scientifically sound. So we must trust their judgement.

For example, I asked my GP for a prostate-specific antigen test a few years back. He laughed and asked why. When I said it was only precautionary, he said there was no need. Bewildered at being dismissed like that, I had a good look round the medical sites and figured he was probably right.

But today, I KNOW he was absolutely right


With the question posed by Bala, I assume that he has high cholesterol and has already been prescribed statins. My view is that he should take the statins prescribed and forget all about this ultrasound test and his blood velocity.

malcolmp in reply to Hidden

There might be external influences that are causing high cholesterol.To look at symptom rather than the cause is somewhat misguided.The" you have a problem here's a pill for that" culture that we have among some gp's is why we live in a sickness society.

Unfortunately some people foolishly buy into this belief to their peril.

Take as many tests as you can to ascertain a true picture of your arterial health before you even consider your options moving forward.Medication should be a last resort as far as your health goes,because all pharmaceutical medication comes with side effects.Which effect different people in different ways.You only have to read some of the posts on this site and start doing a bit of research to get a more balanced view on the pros and cons of certain medications.

Good health in the future.Which ever decisions you make in life.

Hi Bala, I have had one carotid ultrasound done when I was taking part of a clinical trial. It was showing that I have already beginning of narrowing of the arterias to my head. I was given statins after this result. I have asked my GP is I could have another carotid ultrasound done but she said it is not necessary. I have checked prices on private imaging clinics and they charge round £140.

My GP told me to come to see him when I was through the menopause as he would then recommend a carotid artery scan. Not got there yet but have made a mental note to do so when the time comes.