At the suggestion of his wife, Lowell Bauer agreed to take advantage of a preventive screening for stroke and vascular disease. Good thing he went along with her — the screen with Stroke Detection Plus revealed a surprise — his right ventricle was 75 percent blocked.
“I wasn’t having symptoms. I wasn’t really aware of the problem I had,” said Bauer, of Mitchellville.
The results led to a series of interventions that likely saved his life. He sought medical help to clear the blockage and insert a stent a few years ago, and had surgery on his carotid artery a few months ago. He remains active and is running half marathons with no problems.
Stroke Detection Plus, based in Des Moines, offers mobile screening in 10 states. Scott McGlothlen, a physical therapist, had worked with stroke patients and got involved in a similar service before starting the business. A few other groups, including Iowa Health Des Moines and Life Line Screening, also provide testing locally.
Stroke Detection technicians set up private screening areas in locations such as grocery stores, banks or workplaces. Clients can have up to four ultrasound screenings performed for:
• carotid artery disease — blockage in the neck that can lead to stroke.
• abdominal aortic aneurism
• peripheral arterial disease (PAD)
Most clients are age 45 and older and 10 percent of those who undergo screening need some follow-up care with a physician, said John Montgomery, vice president of Stroke Detection Plus.
“Every week, we send someone from their screening to their doctor because they have critical blockage,” he said.
Others are at a moderate degree of blockage and can prevent an invasive surgery.
“They can still make some changes in their life so they don’t get to that. They can stop the progression of that plaque buildup,” he said.
Showing clients images of plaque buildup and how their blood flow is changing is a powerful motivator.
Montgomery said Stroke Detection Plus also has a registered nurse who follows up with clients to make sure they seek help with their conditions. Results are provided so clients can take them to a provider to review and possibly order further testing, which would then be covered by insurance.
Harold Crozier of Des Moines said he had the screening done to stay on top of his health and learned that his right carotid artery was blocked. Surgery corrected the problem and he’s since made a conscious effort to eat healthier. He’s also made sure to get re-checked annually.
The screens run $45 per test, or $125 for all four. Testing takes 30 to 40 minutes for the full screening and is painless.
“It’s an inexpensive way to assess your risk,” Montgomery said. “The majority of people don’t have warning signs. They are silent conditions until something serious occurs.”
Iowa Health-Des Moines also offers screening as well as complete lipid panels and body weight analysis through the HeartReach Mobile lab. To make an appointment, go to www.iowahealth.org/heart reach or call 866-935-5432.
Life Line Screening provides similar services and can be reached at 888-753-1128 or www.lifelinescreening.com.