What is Wellness Screening?
A Wellness Screening is a group of ultrasound screenings that can see inside your arteries to reveal things that your doctor can’t see in an annual exam - even if you have no symptoms.
A Wellness Screening consists of the following tests:
- Carotid Artery Screen: Screening of the carotid arteries is achieved with non-invasive ultrasound. The carotid arteries are found on each side of the neck. These arteries carry blood to the brain. Ultrasound is used to visualize inside the artery and to detect plaque that may reduce or block flow leading to a stroke.
- Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screen: Screening of the aorta is achieved with noninvasive ultrasound. The aorta is the main artery that originates from the heart and courses down the mid abdomen. It is the primary artery from which other major arteries originate. Scanning of the abdominal aorta starts from below the sternum to the navel. Ultrasound of the abdominal aorta is used to screen for detection of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA), or an enlargement of the aorta which can lead to a ruptured aorta.
- Peripheral Arterial Disease Screen: ABI (Ankle/Brachial Index) is used to screen for Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) or Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) which is caused by atherosclerotic blockages, or the build-up of plaque in the arteries. Atherosclerosis can lead to a heart attack or stroke. ABI uses blood pressure cuffs applied to both upper arms and ankles. A pressure reading is recorded at these sites.
Who should be screened?
Asymptomatic participants. Individuals who are symptomatic are not appropriate for screening studies and should see their doctor. Screenings cannot replace diagnostic examination for symptomatic individuals. The purpose of screening exams is to provide early intervention so individuals may re-evaluate their lifestyle and make necessary changes.
Individuals with a family history of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) should be screened. As well as any individual who is a current or former smoker. The United State Preventative Services Task Force recommends AAA screening for males 65-75 who have smoked 100 or more cigarettes in their lifetime.
Many studies have shown even a slightly decreased ABI (Ankle/Brachial Index) may be associated with subsequent development of cardiovascular effects. The population studied were males and females 65 and older, some studies included those 55 and older and even some individuals from family practice.
Risk factors that contribute to coronary heart disease and stroke:
- Cholesterol disorders
- High blood pressure
- Physical inactivity
- Overweight or obesity
Who will be performing the screening examination?
All exams are performed by technologists registered by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS).
Who will interpret the screening examination?
All exams are reviewed by board certified radiologists.
Do I need a doctor's order?
No, because most physicians can only order diagnostic tests if you are experiencing symptoms. They are usually not able to order them as a preventive measure because insurance will not cover them.