Company defends carotid screening

This is in reply to the letter, "Use trusted source for medical advice," (July 22). Dr. Smith's statement that "this screening test actually increases your chances of stroke or death" is utterly false. Carotid artery screening is safe, effective and accurate. If someone is found to have a mild or moderate blockage, then medical treatment and monitoring can be put into place, possibly saving a person from having a stroke. Surgery or stenting is used in cases of severe blockage, and is typically very successful. In the hands of a skilled surgeon, surgical intervention has a low risk.

While screening people who are young or have no risk factors is not appropriate, screening people over the age of 55 proactively if they have risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking and a family history, is appropriate and effective. Life Line Screening provides a host of tests for atherosclerosis, the underlying disease that leads to stroke and heart attack, at reasonable cost and in convenient locations.

We believe in prevention, and wellness. Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. Stroke, by itself, is number four and is a leading cause of death and disability. We clearly need to be open to considering new models of care to manage these chronic health problems.

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