In light of the 2 recent decisions from US authorities regarding the use of carotid ultrasonography, it is timely to highlight the measurement of carotid plaque burden, as being distinct from assessment of severity of carotid stenosis or measurement of carotid intima-media thickness (IMT). The US Preventive Services Task Force recommended against screening for asymptomatic carotid stenosis, and the American Medical Association approved a category 1 reimbursement code for carotid IMT and plaque scanning. These seemingly contradictory decisions call for an explanation.
Spence JD. Measurement of Carotid Plaque Burden. JAMA Neurol. 2015;72(4):383-384. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2014.3002