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Risks and Benefits of Vascular Screening

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MEDFORD, Ore. – When a stroke or aneurysm occurs, often it’s without warning.

“Vascular disease can be silent until you have a major event,” said Anita Greenhalgh, a Registered Nurse at Providence’s Vascular Ultrasound Lab. “You could have a big stroke as your first event.”

Organizations like the Providence Vascular Ultrasound Lab and Life Line Screening measure that risk before you have symptoms.

Their suites of tests cost roughly $100-$150, circumventing insurers which typically don’t cover diagnostics unless recommended by a doctor.

“We do a large number of these,” said Life Line Screenings Chief Medical Officer Dr. Andy Manganaro. “By not dealing with insurance companies we don’t have that kind of overhead that they have.”

But that hasn’t always drawn the right kind of attention.

A report from the S.S. Preventive Services Task Force claims vascular screenings can be misleading for people without symptoms. Their tests for Carotid Artery and EKG screenings received a “D” grade, arguing with “moderate to high certainty” that there is no net benefit and the harms outweigh the benefits.

Even screening experts say they can be dangerous if not interpreted properly.

“The interpreter should be a radiologist or a vascular surgeon, or someone who is trained in interpreting vascular testing,” said Greenhalgh.

But screening companies stress the emphasis is on personal choice.

They say advising someone to live a healthier lifestyle is easier said than done, and if concrete data can provide the motivation to stop smoking and eat healthier, it can lead to a longer and more independent life.

“When you know about the problem you tend to do something about it when you see it concretely,” said Dr. Manganaro.

The Life Line Screening service will be at the Ashland Gracepoint Nazarene Church on April 2nd. They say they will only accept patients that have some risk factors – including age, weight, smoking habits, or family history. Those who wish to get screened are encouraged to call in advance at 877-379-4724.

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  1. Gwen Matocha says:

    I do not understand why you warn of risks. It is not invasive, by checking each year or so you get a better heads up if there is more going on or conditions are worse than the years before. We lost a friend recently that had no idea she was a stroke risk, she exercised, ate well, weight well under control and by the time she got to the hospital it was too late. Prevention is the key here, if you are aware that you are at risk. I want to know what the risks are?

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