Vascular screening is quick, painless and can be life-saving. Screening is performed by a physician’s office involved in vascular care.
It is important to know that health insurance typically does not pay for screening if a person is symptom-free. The Medicare screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is one exception that is covered. It offers a free, one-time AAA ultrasound screening for qualified seniors as part of the Welcome to Medicare Physical Exam during the first 6 months of enrollment. If you are a man that has smoked more than 100 cigarettes in your lifetime, or if you have a family history of AAA (regardless of gender), you are eligible for this screening benefit.
Ankle-brachial index (ABI) - An ABI is a comparison of the blood pressure in the ankle with the blood pressure in the arm using a regular blood pressure cuff and a Doppler ultrasound device. To determine the ABI, the systolic blood pressure (the top number of the blood pressure measurement) of the ankle is divided by the systolic blood pressure of the arm.
Carotid artery duplex scan - A type of vascular ultrasound study performed to assess the blood flow of the carotid arteries. A carotid artery duplex scan is a noninvasive procedure. A probe called a transducer sends out ultrasonic sound waves at a frequency too high to be heard. When the transducer (like a microphone) is placed on the carotid arteries at certain locations and angles, the ultrasonic sound waves move through the skin and other body tissues to the blood vessels, where the waves echo off of the blood cells. The transducer picks up the reflected waves and sends them to an amplifier, which makes the ultrasonic sound waves audible. Absence or faintness of these sounds may indicate an obstruction to the blood flow.
Ultrasound - An ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves and a computer to create images of blood vessels, tissues and organs. Ultrasounds are used to view internal organs as they function and to assess blood flow through various vessels