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  • Stroke & Blood Vessel Screenings

Stroke & Blood Vessel Screenings - St. Cloud

Register for a screening exam

For weekday appointments, please call Imaging Services at CentraCare Health Plaza at 320-229-4986. You do not need referral.

St. Cloud Hospital Imaging Services offers three screenings to determine your risk for stroke, peripheral vascular disease and abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Credentialed vascular technologists perform the screenings with the latest technology in a comfortable, private, health care environment. Qualified doctors interpret the screening results.

Should I be screened?

Stroke and blood vessel screenings may prevent disabling and possibly deadly conditions. If you are at risk for stroke or other vascular disease, you should consider the screenings -- even if you do not have symptoms. Our goal is to help you detect hidden health risks at an earlier stage.

Consider the screenings if you are older than 55 and have one or more risk factors. These risk factors should be used as general guidelines and include, but are not limited to:

  • Family history of arterial disease (stroke, abdominal aortic aneurysm or heart disease)
  • High blood pressure
  • Nicotine use
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Lack of exercise and/or obesity

What do the three screening tests offered look for?

Stroke / Carotid Artery Screening

Almost half of the people who have strokes have no prior symptoms. This exam screens the carotid arteries in the neck for fatty plaque buildup. Plaque may reduce or totally block the amount of blood flowing to the brain. Blocked carotid arteries cause 75 to 80 percent of strokes.

Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) Screening

PVD causes the arteries that carry blood to the legs to become narrowed or clogged. It can slow or stop the flow of blood. Some people call this poor circulation. PVD is linked to coronary artery disease. We use an ankle brachial index (ABI) test to evaluate arterial blood flow going to the legs and feet.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening

This exam screens for a bulging, widening, or stretching of the aorta. The aorta is the largest arterial blood vessel in the body. The vast majority of people with AAA have no symptoms. Over time, the aneurysm may become so large it may eventually rupture or burst. The death rate for a ruptured aortic aneurysm is 90 to 95 percent.

How are the screenings performed and how do I prepare for the test(s)?

We use ultrasound to perform all three screenings. Diagnostic ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves to create images of the arteries. The ultrasound also measures the speed of the blood flow within the vessels. The ultrasound does not involve ionizing radiation.

    Stroke/Carotid Artery Screening

    • We recommend a button-down or low-collar shirt. No turtlenecks please.
    • The sonographer will apply gel to your neck. He or she will then move an instrument called a transducer over the surface of your neck to evaluate the carotid arteries.

    Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) Screening

    • Please wear a short sleeve shirt. Do not wear pantyhose because you will need to remove your socks and shoes.
    • We will place blood pressure cuffs and a Doppler ultrasound probe on your arms and ankles.

    Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening

    • Fast a minimum of four hours prior to your screening. Please refrain from eating a heavy, fatty or greasy meal prior to your four-hour fast. If you are diabetic, please limit yourself to a light “diabetic meal” such as a piece of toast and juice.
    • You may take medications as needed.
    • We will ask you to lie on a cart and raise your shirt so we can examine your abdominal aortic artery.
    • The sonographer will apply gel to your abdomen. He or she will then move an instrument called a transducer over the surface of your abdomen to evaluate the aorta.

    How long does each screening take?

    Please arrive 10-15 minutes prior to your screening to register. Each test takes approximately 15 minutes.

    What does each screening cost?

    Each screening costs $40. You may pay by cash or check. We cannot accept credit cards at this time. Insurance will not cover these screening exams.

    When will I receive the results?

    We will mail your results to you within three working days. Please consult with your primary care provider about your screening results.