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A quantitative method for distinguishing complex from non-complex flow patterns in ultrasound is presented. A new commercial BK Medical ultrasound scanner uses the Transverse Oscillation vector flow technique for visualising flow patterns in real-time. In vivo vector flow data of the blood flow patterns of the common carotid artery and the carotid bulb were obtained simultaneously as the basis for quantifying complex flow. The carotid bifurcation of two healthy volunteers were scanned. The presence of complex flow patterns from eight cardiac cycles were evaluated by three experts in medical ultrasound. From the same data the mean standard deviation of the flow angles (MSTDA) were calculated and compared to the expert evaluations. Comparison between the combined experts evaluations and the MSTDA was performed. Using linear regression analysis, a correlation coefficient of 0.925 was found. The upper and lower bounds for a 95% confidence interval of 0.974 and 0.792 respectively, were calculated. The MSTDA was below 25° for the common carotid artery and above 25° for the carotid bulb. Thus, the MSTDA value can distinguishing complex flow from non-complex flow and can be used as the basis for automatic detection of complex flow patterns.