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J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2008 Oct;21(10):1156-62. doi: 10.1016/j.echo.2008.05.001. Epub 2008 Jun 16.

Ultrasound detection of increased carotid intima-media thickness and carotid plaque in an office practice setting: does it affect physician behavior or patient motivation?

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  • 1University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.



The aim of this multicenter study was to determine if identifying increased carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) or carotid plaque during office-based ultrasound screening examinations could alter physicians' treatment plans and patients' motivation regarding health-related behaviors.


Carotid ultrasound studies were performed by a nonsonographer clinician using a handheld system. Changes in physicians' treatment plans and patients' motivation on the basis of scan results were analyzed using multivariate regression.


There were 253 subjects (mean age, 58.1 +/- 6.6 years). When increased CIMT or carotid plaque was detected, physicians were more likely to prescribe aspirin and lipid-lowering therapy (P < .001). Subjects were more likely to report increases in plans to take cholesterol-lowering medication (P = .002) and the perceived likelihood of having or developing heart disease (P = .004).


Findings from office-based carotid ultrasound studies can influence physicians' prescriptions of evidence-based interventions. Patients with abnormal ultrasound findings recognize their increased cardiovascular risk and plan to take cholesterol-lowering medication.

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