Vascular Health Screening Frequently Asked Questions
- Non-Invasive Arterial Testing
This component involves measurement of carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) using high-resolution B-mode ultrasound. Measurement of CIMT is a safe and noninvasive technique that has been recommended by the American Heart Association. It provides incremental information to traditional risk factor assessment and is a powerful predictor of cardiac death, myocardial infarction, and stroke.
CIMT measurement offers several advantages over measurement of coronary calcium by electron beam or computed helical tomography. It does not involve exposure to radiation, is less expensive, and is a proven predictor of cardiovascular risk. This is not a simple carotid Duplex ultrasound scan to find a carotid stenosis-it involves sophisticated scanning and measurement techniques, including the determination of vascular age. It involves sophisticated scanning and measurement techniques that in the Midwest are available only at UW Hospital and Clinics.
- Individualized Risk Assessment
This component provides a formal, personalized risk assessment using questionnaires, multivariate risk models, and measurement of body fat, body mass index, waist circumference, blood pressure, lipid and glucose levels. Experts in exercise, diet, and smoking cessation will provide counseling and recommendations regarding medical management of cardiovascular risk factors.
Who Pays for the Vascular Health Screening?
The charge for Vascular Health Screening is $295. In the Madison area, insurance coverage usually is provided by Unity, Group Health Cooperative or Physicians Plus if patients meet all of the following criteria:
- The patient is referred by his or her primary care physician
- The patient does not have known atherosclerotic vascular disease
- The patient is 40 to 70 years old
- The patient has "intermediate" risk, defined as a 10-year risk of myocardial infarction or coronary death of 10-20 percent, or 6-20 percent for patients with a family history of premature heart disease
These definitions are outlined in the NCEP ATP III Guidelines and the Framingham risk prediction algorithm in those guidelines.
Payment for all charges related to the Vascular Health Screening Program must be made prior to testing. A report of the tests and risk assessment session will be sent to the ordering physician. Patients will get a copy of the report at the time of their personalized counseling session.