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April 2015

Measurement of Carotid Plaque Burden

Author Affiliations
  • 1Stroke Prevention and Atherosclerosis Research Centre, Robarts Research Institute, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada
JAMA Neurol. 2015;72(4):383-384. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2014.3002

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.