How noninvasive investigation has modified our therapeutic approach in vascular medicine
Italian Society for Vascular Investigation
Noninvasive diagnostic methods have modified our therapeutic decision-making in several vascular diseases. In particular, many forms of surgical treatment, both endovascular and open, are performed based exclusively on evaluation with duplex scanning. The purpose of noninvasive ultrasound testing is to distinguish normal from pathological vessels, to classify a wide range of disease states, to assess the collateral circulation, and to do so in a safe and cost-effective manner. The primary aim is to identify patients who are at risk for acute and chronic vascular disease and who may require specific treatment. A secondary aim is to document progressive or recurrent disease in patients already known to be at risk. Of course, individual vascular laboratories must validate their own results against a suitable gold standard, and they have to guarantee the best quality and maximum accuracy.1
With regard to diseases of the carotid artery, color flow duplex scanning is the investigation of choice for diagnosis and measurement of carotid stenosis, provided that objective criteria are used and scanning is done by experienced operators. Several velocity criteria used to detect the presence and severity of carotid artery disease and the morphological evaluation of lesions allow us to have a specificity of 90% and a sensitivity of 99% when all categories of carotid disease are considered. On the basis of these criteria, we can identify the best therapeutic approach for specific pathological conditions.
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