Harvard Health Letter

Screening to prevent stroke

Some companies are pushing ultrasound carotid artery scans, but reducing primary risk factors is where the emphasis should be.

Mobile screening for stroke seems to be everywhere — at a YMCA in Newton, Iowa; an American Legion Post in Vienna, Va.; a community college in Tempe, Ariz. One of the largest mobile screening companies, Cleveland-based Life Line Screening, currently operates in 48 states. It and other companies measure stroke risk with ultrasound scans of the carotid arteries in the neck.

These companies typically promise that the test can give you "peace of mind." Compared with hospital testing, the mobile services may be more convenient and accessible, and the price is modest — about $50. Some companies offer package deals with other screening tests.

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