The risk of stroke could be reduced by screening guidelines which help reduce death and disability from stroke by allowing treatment before it occurs, researchers have found.
Today's study in the Journal of Neuroimaging suggests effective screening would enable doctors to detect the thickening blood vessels, or carotid stenosis, which supply blood to the brain and are a common cause of stroke.
Lead author Adnan I Qureshi said: "The guidelines will help to reduce the incidence of stroke through early detection in up to one fifth of the high risk patients who undergo screening procedures as outlined."
The screening recommendations apply to a wide range of people including those at high risk of stroke in the general population, patients having open heart surgery, those with peripheral vascular diseases and those suffering from dizziness, vertigo or tinnitus.
Around two million people in North America and Europe are at risk of stroke, the authors estimate, and say many could benefit greatly from undergoing a thorough screening process.
Over 130,000 people in the UK have a stroke every year, according to figures from the Stroke Association.