In recent years, with the widespread use of ultrasound color doppler for carotid artery examination, many patients or healthy examiners have been found to have carotid artery plaques. Doctors are often asked by patients about questions such as "Is my plaque serious?" and "How to treat plaques?" So what is the "sacredness" of carotid artery plaque?
The carotid artery is a large blood vessel that delivers blood from the heart to the head, face, and neck, and is one of the main blood vessels supplying the brain. Carotid artery plaques are prone to occur at the bifurcation of the common carotid artery, with manifestations of carotid atherosclerosis. Severe carotid artery plaques can cause insufficient blood supply to the cerebral artery, thrombus shedding leading to stroke risk, and carotid artery plaques are often an indication of systemic atherosclerosis. If the plaque is large, it can cause carotid artery stenosis, even occlusion, and cause corresponding symptoms of inadequate blood supply to cerebral arteries.
The use of a handheld vascular doppler ultrasound is vital in evaluating the condition of the carotid artery. The carotid artery is the shallowest blood vessel in the systemic artery. ultrasound color doppler examination can serve as a window for evaluating the degree of systemic atherosclerosis and selecting further active treatment methods; finding severe carotid artery stenosis to prevent the possibility of serious stroke.
Besides colour flow doppler ultrasound, other commonly used carotid artery examination methods include CT angiography (CTA), magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), and digital subtraction angiographic (DSA). Different examination methods and calculation methods have their own advantages and disadvantages, and clinical doctors need to make comprehensive judgments based on different imaging presentations.
According to the severity of carotid artery sclerosis, carotid artery ultrasound reports are divided into:
Intima-media thickening: intima and media in the carotid artery wall thicken by more than 1.0mm.
Carotid artery "plaques": intima-media thickening exceeds 1.5mm, indicating the formation of a plaque, and plaque size is often expressed as "length mm × thickness mm".
When the plaque becomes severe, it will cause stenosis of the blood vessel, and the degree of stenosis is generally expressed as a percentage (%), divided into<50%, 50%-69%, 70%-99%, and 100% (complete occlusion).
Regardless of the size of the carotid artery plaque or whether it causes vascular lumen stenosis, lifestyle intervention should be immediately taken, such as controlling diet intake, improving dietary structure, increasing exercise, losing weight, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol, and actively and reasonably controlling blood pressure and blood sugar.
Ultrasound color doppler equipment is commonly used in hospitals for examination, and color ultrasound machines mainly include routine scanning of abdominal, urinary, gynecological, obstetric, cardiovascular, vascular, musculoskeletal, superficial organs, and other parts; and screening for fetal four-dimensional color ultrasound, fetal malformations, and other system. Color ultrasound machines have a wide range of applications, are inexpensive, simple, fast, non-invasive, non-radiative, accurate, and can be scanned continuously and repeatedly.