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Carotid stenosis, sometimes called carotid artery disease is a narrowing of the inner wall of the carotid artery. The narrowing is usually caused by deposits of cholesterol and fatty substances.
The carotid artery is the large artery on both sides of the neck. The internal carotid artery supplies the brain, and the external carotid artery supplies the face. The fork of the internal and external artery is a common site for atherosclerosis.
Clinically, risk of stroke from carotid stenosis is evaluated by the presence or absence of symptoms and the degree of stenosis on imaging. Auscultation can also be used for preliminary evaluation of carotid artery disease, to be followed by ultrasound imaging.
The identification of a carotid artery bruit using a stethoscope should always be followed up with an ultrasound examination of both carotid vessels due to the limited accuracy of an examination with a stethoscope.
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