Non-invasive detection of vascular lesions lying in the great cervical vessels is frequently carried out using Doppler examination. Many studies have demonstrated the interest and the increasing value of this method, which however requires experienced and skilled manipulators. Doppler examination is very efficient in demonstrating occlusions, haemodynamically-significant stenosis of carotid arteries and sub-clavian steal. In non-functional lesions haemodynamic disturbance, which is a major indication for diagnosis by Doppler detection, is no longer present. These low grade lesions are thus not demonstrated. Consequently, it seemed desirable to develop an atraumatic method for a good visualization of carotid arteries. This examination should show, at an early stage, atheromatous plaques undetectable by other non-invasive tests, and complete doubtful arteriographies on which small plaques are suspected. Real-time high resolution echotomographies and Doppler blood flow visualization are the most interesting techniques under development in this new field.
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