Vascular Health Screening
- Heart disease
- Cholesterol disorders
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
What Happens During the Vascular Screening?
Ultrasound is used to measure the thickness of the walls of your carotid arteries, also known as carotid intima-media thickness, or "CIMT." This is a safe, non-invasive test in which you lie flat for 30 to 40 minutes. A small amount of gel is applied to your neck. We use sound beams to assess your carotid artery, because as the walls of this artery become thicker, your risk of having a heart attack or stroke increases.
CIMT measurement offers several advantages over the electron beam or multidetector computed tomography (EBCT or MDCT), commonly called "heart scans." CIMT does not involve exposure to radiation, is less expensive than a heart scan and is a proven predictor of cardiovascular risk.
Interpreting the Vascular Screening
After the screening, a private session will be scheduled with a preventive cardiology clinician who is an expert on cardiovascular risk assessment and personalized counseling. We will provide personalized guidance concerning exercise, diet, smoking cessation and control of your risk factors for heart and blood vessel disease.
Questionnaires, computer programs and measurement of your body mass index, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels also are used in your 45-minute post-screening counseling session. Please have your fasting cholesterol and blood sugar levels measured in advance of your counseling session.
How to Sign Up for Screening
Your physician must order the vascular health screening tests for you, and can do so by calling (608) 263-7420.
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. Please check with your provider.
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 your ordering physician. You will get a copy of the report at the time of your personalized counseling session.
For the current self-pay cost for the test, call 608-263-7420.