USPSTF: No screening for asymptomatic carotid artery stenosis

For patients without a history of stroke, transient ischemic attack or other neurological symptoms, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) does not recommend screening for asymptomatic carotid artery stenosis (CAS). This decision was published online July 8 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

As an update to the 2007 recommendation on asymptomatic CAS screening, the USPSTF began revisions earlier this year, opening the draft for public comment Feb. 18.

The USPSTF determined that current techniques offered no benefit to screening for asymptomatic CAS. Prevalence in the population of asymptomatic CAS is low, while ultrasonography and other types of screening yield more false positives than positives in otherwise healthy individuals. Interventions for carotid artery stenosis are invasive and carry risks that outweigh benefits in patients that do not have CAS.

While the recommendation, written by Michael L. Lefevre, MD, MSPH, on behalf of the USPSTF, remained the same it has been updated based on the most current evidence available on accuracy screening and risk analysis.

This decision is in line with 2010 and 2011 recommendations from professional organizations, including the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology and the American Stroke Association.