June 19, 2007 – According to a study presented at the 18th Annual Scientific Sessions of the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE), screening vascular ultrasound (SVU) is effective in identifying patients with cardiovascular disease before they show symptoms.
John Postley, M.D., of Columbia University in New York, NY, evaluated 398 patients, ages 33-79, using both Framingham Risk Score (FRS) and SVU. Of the 398 patients, SVU found 171 patients to have plaque build-up in the arteries of the neck and thigh. Of those 171 who were found to actually have plaque build-up, 25 percent of men and 35 percent of women were categorized as low risk by FRS.
SVU identified cardiovascular disease in these patients that FRS alone might have otherwise overlooked. The findings also confirm the importance of assessing plaque levels in both the thigh and neck veins since 20 percent of the 171 patients with plaque would have been missed if only plaque levels in the neck had been assessed.
“These findings suggest that even patients with low Framingham Risk Scores may have cardiovascular disease, as demonstrated by the presence of plaque build-up, and that Screening Vascular Ultrasound is an effective method to identify these patients,” said Dr. Postley. “This combination of technologies is wonderful news for the medical community as it will help identify people with clogged arteries before they even begin showing symptoms, allowing physicians to be more proactive in treatment.”