What Patients Should Know

Welcome to the Patient Information section of IAC Vascular Testing online. The IAC provides the following information about vascular testing facilities as a service to the general public. This section is designed to help prospective patients stay educated and informed about vascular testing and the importance of accredited facilities.

IAC Accredited Facilities

The Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC) offers an online tool to assist patients in locating an IAC accredited facility. When scheduling a procedure, patients are encouraged to research the accreditation status of the facility. Find An IAC Accredited Facility»

What Does 'Vascular' Mean?

The word vascular refers to our body's circulatory system — the blood vessels which carry blood from the heart to the body's organs (the arteries) and from the organs back to the heart (the veins).

What is Vascular Disease?

Vascular disease refers to the unhealthy changes which occur in our blood vessels as we age. Examples include plaque build-up in the arteries, varicose veins and blood clots in the veins.

What is Vascular Ultrasound?

The medical specialty of vascular technology utilizes diagnostic ultrasound to generate images of blood flow within the veins and arteries. Ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves, similar to the sonar that a ship uses to detect structures beneath the surface of the water. Vascular ultrasound can also be known as a Doppler or duplex study. For example, if your physician wants to make sure that you do not have a blood clot in your leg, he or she might order a venous duplex or venous Doppler examination.

Vascular ultrasound procedures are noninvasive, meaning they do not require the use of needles, dyes, radiation or anesthesia and are, therefore, relatively painless and harmless.

The information obtained through vascular ultrasound examinations is extremely helpful to physicians in diagnosing a variety of conditions related to cardiovascular disease, disorders of the heart and blood vessels. Early detection of life-threatening vascular diseases is possible through the use of noninvasive vascular testing techniques performed within vascular facilities.

Vascular ultrasound's reliability in diagnosing conditions related to heart disease and stroke is encouraging as we strive for ways to reduce the more than 500,000 lives lost in the United States each year to these disorders. However, it is critical that the public realizes there are many facets that contribute to an accurate diagnosis based on vascular ultrasound examinations. These factors include the skill of the technologist/sonographer performing the examination, the type of equipment used, the background and knowledge of the interpreting physician and quality assurance measures. In fact, poor ultrasound examinations often lead to inconvenient, redundant studies, misdiagnosis and even unnecessary tests or surgery.

IAC Accreditation — A "Seal of Approval" Patients Can Count On.

Private offices, clinics and departments within hospitals that are accredited by the Intersocietal Commission (IAC) voluntarily submit to a review of their daily operations. By participating in the accreditation process, these medical facilities demonstrate a commitment to the performance of quality vascular testing and strive to meet nationally recognized standards. During the accreditation process, applicant vascular facilities must submit documentation on every aspect of their daily operations. While completing the application, facilities are required to identify and correct potential problems, revising protocols and validating quality assurance programs. Applications submitted, including samples of the vascular examinations performed, are reviewed by experts throughout the United States and Canada. Accreditation is granted only to those facilities that are found to be providing quality patient care, in compliance with the IAC Standards. Once granted, IAC accreditation is valid for a period of three years, after which time the facility must undergo a repeat evaluation.