Understanding the Facts about Life Line Screening Tests

Understanding the Facts about Life Line Screening Tests

Life Line Screening is a community-based provider of preventive health screenings, primarily for those 50 and older who have risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, a history of tobacco use, obesity, and a family history of cardiovascular disease.

The company was born in 1993 out of frustration and optimism. Frustration that too many people showed up at the hospital in acute distress when accurate, low-cost screening tools were available that could have identified the risk factors ahead of time, and optimism that a community-based, affordable provider could make an impact.

We knew we were going a little bit against the grain, against the hospital-only model, but we believed that innovation was necessary – and we still do. After 20+ years in business, and nearing 9 million people screened, we remain as dedicated to our mission as ever. Time has proven that we were, and are, correct. Healthcare models increasingly focus on both primary and secondary prevention as the best path to a healthier nation. Research, including some that we have contributed to, is revealing the efficacy and utility of screening.

There have been challenges. Some medical professionals ask if preventive ultrasound screening, "is worth the money," or is what we do a way of "misleading the public in order to get people to buy screenings they don't need." They ask this of Life Line Screening testing but also of other preventive ultrasound companies as well.

Is it worth the money? Is Life Line Screening legitimate?

Preventive ultrasound screening is definitely worth the money, in our view. But don't take our word for it. Here is a quote from Dr. Greg Feinsinger, writing in the Post-Independent: "The short answer as to whether it's worth the $149 charge is that if you are 40 or older, it is well worth the money."1

While it is hard to pin down an exact amount, the same screenings at a hospital would cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. By collaborating with local facilities, Life Line Screening can offer preventive ultrasound at a reasonable price, because we do not have to maintain a bricks and mortar building wherever we go. Life Line Screening ultrasound screening is the same testing, using the same type of equipment, and the same techs as you would find at medical clinics, but without paying overhead we can keep our prices as low as possible, while still providing a variety of quality preventive health screenings.

Is offering community-based preventive ultrasound screening a way of misleading the public to get screenings they don't need?

No. Absolutely not.

The criticism that we are misleading people into getting screenings they don't need is based on the false premise that we are doing generalized population screening to identify people who need surgery. This is simply an uneducated stance, and when you see things like "life line screening lawsuit," or "legit fake ultrasound," or even, oddly, "is quality health legit," linked to questions about our services, the people criticizing are starting from this misunderstanding.

In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. We market to people age 50 and older who have risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, family history of stroke and heart disease, diabetes, smoking, and obesity for the purposes of risk factor identification. Medical opinion supports this idea: "…ultrasonic screening for asymptomatic carotid disease may be of paramount importance mainly as a tool to identify high-risk individuals for cardiovascular disease and treat them aggressively rather than to identify high-grade asymptomatic carotid stenosis requiring intervention."2

Research specifically confirms the benefits of adding a Peripheral Artery Disease screening to a traditional risk factor algorithm called the Framingham Risk Score: "Measurement of the ankle brachial index may improve the accuracy of cardiovascular risk prediction beyond the Framingham Risk Score."3

It is important to note that our customers are choosing screening. No one is forcing them. They know exactly what they are buying, and are making a decision that feels right for them based on their risk factors, stage of life, and personal preferences. In addition, Life Line Screening's processes and procedures are fully transparent. When a customer signs up, they get a full description of what services they are purchasing and told how much it costs. There are no hidden fees. Everything is up front.

Our website also includes information about each test we offer, our executive and clinical teams, and a vast array of health education. We invite anyone interested to visit us at www.lifelinescreening.com.

Where does Life Line Screening operate?

We provide screenings across the nation, although we aren't in every place every day. We have approximately sixty teams that serve specific geographic areas. We reach or are close to most zip codes in America (excluding Alaska and Hawaii). We believe we are the biggest company of our type, compared to other ultrasound screening companies.

Life Line Screening offers several types of testing, including ultrasound plaque screening of the carotid arteries and the peripheral arteries, as well as the abdominal aorta. We also offer a check for atrial fibrillation and osteoporosis risk, as well as a variety of laboratory tests. You can learn more about this on our Services page.

Sometimes people ask if we offer CMD Ultrasound. The CMD refers to carotid-intermedia thickness. No, we do not offer that type of measurement. We report on the presence of plaque and the blood velocity, which lets us know if a blockage is impeding blood flow. In addition, we do not offer coronary artery screening, meaning that we do not image arteries that surround the heart. You can have blockage in those arteries even if your carotid screening is clear.

How can I find an ultrasound screening near me? Can I find a Life Line Screening event near me? Where are the Life Line Screening locations?

These are actually three different questions.

Finding a Life Line Screening near you is easy. Just call us at 800.718.0961 or go online here.

Finding nearby preventive ultrasound screening with a resource different from Life Line Screening may be tricky. There are not many ultrasound screening companies, and Life Line Screening is the largest. Sometimes nonprofits or local hospitals have special events, so those may be accessible. You can also ask your doctor about getting the tests, but be aware that most insurance companies do not cover these screenings unless you are actively symptomatic, which we believe can be too late. We focus on prevention.

Life Line Screening locations consist of community-based buildings in every zip code we visit, such as churches, town halls, and libraries. We partner with organizations that can provide rooms large enough for our staff and customers, have enough electrical outlets for our equipment, and have wheelchair access and free parking.

Again, to find an LLS screening in your neighborhood, call 800.718.0961 or click here.

1 Post Independent, Doctor's Tip: Doctor, should I sign up for Life Line Screening?, Dr. Greg Feinsinger, August 18, 2019, https://www.postindependent.com/news/health/doctors-tip-doctor-should-i-sign-up-for-life-line-screening/

2 Screening for Asymptomatic Carotid Plaques with Ultrasound, Giannoukas, A.D.Chabok, M.Spanos, K.Nicolaides, A. et al., European Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, Volume 52, Issue 3, 309 – 312, https://www.ejves.com/article/S1078-5884(16)30053-3/abstract

3 Ankle Brachial Index Collaboration, Fowkes FG, Murray GD, et al. Ankle brachial index combined with Framingham Risk Score to predict cardiovascular events and mortality: a meta-analysis. JAMA. 2008;300(2):197–208. doi:10.1001/jama.300.2.197, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2932628/