Vascular Health Screening Frequently Asked Questions

Contact Information

(608) 263-7420


Orders for vascular health screenings may be faxed to:

(608) 265-8320


Media Inquiries

If you have additional questions about the Vascular Health Screening Program or would like to order this test for your patient, please feel free to call us at (608) 263-7420. Orders also may be faxed to (608) 265-8320.


Which Patients are Appropriate for the Vascular Health Screening Program?


Ideal patients are asymptomatic individuals between the ages of 40 and 70 years old. The results of the carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) scan, lipid panel, glucose determination and other assessments will be reported to the patient and ordering physician.


How Will the Vascular Health Screening Program Help Me Better Care for My Patients?


Our goal is to provide a valuable, evidence-based service to the medical community that helps identify and prevent atherosclerotic vascular disease. The program will help you identify patients with pre-clinical atherosclerosis and improve assessment of cardiovascular risk.


Patient participation in the Vascular Health Screening Program requires a physician's order and is not being marketed directly to patients, in contrast to coronary calcium ("heart scan") screening programs. Both you and your patient will receive test results from the screening, and our cardiovascular nurse practitioners provide further counseling and recommendations regarding medical management of cardiovascular risk factors.


This program has two components - non-invasive arterial testing and individualized risk assessment with counseling:

  • 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.