WEDNESDAY, June 13 (HealthDay News) -- The American College of Cardiology this week released new guidelines for when doctors should order noninvasive vascular tests, such as ultrasound, for patients with known or suspected arterial disorders.
These tests can be important in helping doctors determine if patients have blockages or disease in arteries located in areas such as the neck, kidneys, abdomen, lower extremities and aorta.
Such testing also helps doctors make treatment decisions and prevent serious problems in patients diagnosed with such disorders.
The panel that developed the guidelines looked at common situations where vascular testing might be considered and concluded that such testing was appropriate in about half of the situations, uncertain in one-third and inappropriate in the other 20 percent.
Overall, arterial vascular tests are appropriate when a patient's signs and symptoms are the main reason for testing. For example, it is reasonable to order a lower-extremity vascular test for a patient who has calf pain while walking, but the pain goes away with rest.
The guidelines were developed by the American College of Cardiology in collaboration with 10 other major medical professional societies.
"This is the first systematic and comprehensive evaluation looking at appropriate indications for vascular testing, such as ultrasound or functional testing," guideline writing committee chairman Dr. Emile Mohler III, director of vascular medicine for the University of Pennsylvania Health System, said in a news release from the American College of Cardiology. "We hope this document will help clinicians determine whether and when to refer individual patients for testing."
Mohler estimated that more than 20 million adults in the United States have some form of vascular disease and would likely be candidates for these types of tests.
The American College of Radiology and Radiological Society of North America have more about vascular ultrasound.
All EBSCO Publishing proprietary, consumer health and medical information found on this site is accredited by URAC. URAC's Health Web Site Accreditation Program requires compliance with 53 rigorous standards of quality and accountability, verified by independent audits. To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © 2008 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.