Aunt Minnie Editor Eric Ridley has posted a good article on the growing and important field of vascular screening using ultrasound. This is something that Physicians can easily add to their practice as an excellent elective exam for their patients.
The article does a nice job discussing all the things you should consider before running the screening exam and some of the pitfalls you could run into. His article is based on a talk given by Phillip Bendick, Ph.D., o fWilliam Beaumont Hospital In Royal Oak, MI.
These screening facilities are popping up everywhere in the US, and this article discusses the importance of choosing a technician wisely and being careful in the exams. The full article can be found here.
Quoted from http://www.auntminnie.com/index.asp?Sec=sup&Sub=ult&Pag=dis&ItemId=77508&wf=2077:
"Screening is the way to get at these people early before bad things really start to happen," he said in a session at the 2007 Leading Edge in Diagnostic Ultrasound Conference in Atlantic City.
It's important to note that vascular screening isn't for patients, since patients have diagnostic studies based on medical necessity, Bendick said. Instead, screening is performed for asymptomatic "participants."
Nor is screening a diagnostic exam, which may have 30-40 images or more; a standard screening study is typically limited to three to five images, he said. In addition, and probably most importantly, screening is essentially minimal sampling of data. As with any sampled system, screening is subject to diagnostic "aliasing," Bendick said.
"When you don't make enough samples, you may not have a true representation as to what's going on," he said. "The fewer the samples, the greater the aliasing." So screening requires a skilled sonographer, optimal equipment, and knowledgeable interpretation.