Carotid artery examination, an important tool in patient evaluation

Christopher A. Pickett, Jeffrey L. Jackson, Brian A. Hemann, J. Edwin Atwood

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Examination of the arteries is an age old medical tradition. Examination of the carotid artery is of unique importance because it is an easily accessible large artery. Through the methods of inspection, palpation, and auscultation, carotid artery examination gives clinicians important diagnostic clues about the health and disease of the patient. Inspection and palpation of the carotid give insight into left ventricular systolic function and distinguish types of valvular heart disease. Auscultation identifies patients with high-risk atherosclerosis. In most cases carotid examination is neither sensitive nor specific, but in the correct clinical context it offers important evidence leading to specific diagnoses and treatment. In this review, we discuss the examination of the carotid artery under normal conditions and describe how abnormalities in the carotid artery examination are indicators of disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)526-532
Number of pages7
JournalSouthern Medical Journal
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Carotid artery
  • physical examination
  • primary care


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