Several times throughout the year we all receive direct mail advertisements for vascular screening tests. These ads promise to reduce strokes, heart attacks, and other vascular diseases by undergoing these simple screenings. The ad usually features someone “whose life was saved” through these tests. The screening tests are typically offered at the local church or school by a traveling service vendor. The cost of these tests is not small, often adding up to over $200.
So the question becomes, are they of any value?
In fact, with the sole exception of screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms (discussed below), there is no evidence that any of these screening studies reduce stroke or heart attack, or save lives. As a result, medical experts, including those from the United States Preventative Task Force, The American College of Physicians, and the American Academy of Family Practice, specifically recommend against having these tests performed.