New Stroke Screening Test: Its Implications on Future Health Care

As reported by Reuters on August 17, 2011, surgery poses a lot of risk for patients and if you’re getting surgery based on the fact that you have a clogged carotid, you’re not necessarily better off. About 95% of procedures done on asymptomatic stenosis and 90% of patients who undergo surgery are better off without it. Based on a recent study of an ultrasound-based scan might be able to determine which of the patients with clogged arteries will have the most benefit from getting surgery to have their arteries cleaned of cholesterol build up.

The study was conducted by the Academic Teaching Hospital Wagner-Jauregg in Austria and their results are published in the Neurology journal. One of the lead researchers of the study, Raffi Topakian said that the findings they arrived at would still have to be corroborated by other studies. Going into detail about the types of this new scan, you’ll get one scan on the carotid arteries and another on the arteries of the brain. These scans are readily available at advanced hospitals where a brain scan takes about an hour to get interpreted.

Looking at the numbers in the United States and in Canada, too many patients resort to going under the knife to get their arteries cleaned of cholesterol build up. In getting the surgery, patients actually increase their risk of getting a stroke by 3% compared with someone who didn’t get the procedure done. With this particular breakthrough, there are mixed feelings in the healthcare industry. Others are hopeful and others are worried. In either case, with further studies to back up or shoot down these results, it’s a step towards better healthcare.

In the absence of definitive findings, going under the knife still lies on the prerogative of your surgeon. However, once these findings become conclusive, expect health insurance companies to let you undergo ultra-based scans before they allow you to undergo surgery.

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