A national screening program could help save thousands of lives by diagnosing-and bringing attention to-one of the most undertreated health care concerns for older Americans.
Millions of Americans may have vascular disease without even knowing it, according to the American Vascular Association (AVA). Vascular disease outside the heart kills and cripples tens of thousands of Americans every year despite widely available noninvasive procedures to detect its most common forms: abdominal aortic aneurysm, peripheral arterial disease and carotid artery disease.
• Strokes due to carotid artery disease are the number one cause of disability in this country and the third leading cause of death.
• Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA), which affect 15,000 Americans each year, can be permanently cured when diagnosed early, but rupture is fatal in most cases. Congress recently passed legislation for select Medicare patients to undergo an AAA screening. The covered patient population includes men age 65 and over who have smoked more than 100 cigarettes in their lives, plus women with a family history of AAA.
• Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) may...