Carotid sinus massage

23 May 2016 / 4:25 pm

What is it ?

Carotid sinus massage is an assessment of the your heart rate and blood pressure response when pressure is applied over part of the carotid artery. Some patients who black out have an highly sensitive pressure area in the neck that causes the heart to slow inappropriately.

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How is it performed ?

You will be asked to lie down and a heart monitor (ECG) is connected, usually with additional blood pressure monitoring equipment. The doctor will rub gently on each side of the neck, just below the angle of the jaw for up to 10 seconds to see how your body responds.

How long does it take ?

Approximately 15 minutes including preparation and recording.

Are there any risks ?

There is a small risk of reducing the blood supply to the brain by pressure on the carotid artery with temporary effects affecting 1 in 200 people. Permanent changes are extremely uncommon and the test is not performed in patients who have had a recent stroke.

What happens next ?

The test results are analysed and a report generated, usually within 7 days.

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