Prevention and early-diagnosis are the best defense against heart disease, which is the number one killer of Americans. Research shows that heart disease is asymptomatic in half of patients until they experience a first heart attack or sudden death. Researchers and physicians are constantly working toward finding efficient and less invasive diagnostic tests to help our patients before symptoms present themselves.
The Carotid Intima-Media Thickness(CIMT) test is an excellent diagnostic tool that helps our office determine the health of one’s vascular system. The CIMT test is a non-invasive, ultrasound test. This quick, painless scan that typically takes less than 30 minutes to perform. One of the biggest benefits of the CIMT testing process itself is that it does not require any pre-testing preparation and also does not require any injections or radiation like other diagnostic tools. The CIMT test is also more advanced and sensitive than other carotid diagnostic tools.
During the CIMT test, the ultrasound sonographer captures images of the the carotid arteries located on both sides of your neck, making it an easily accessible part of your body to scan. The sonographer will place a gel on your neck and then with gentle pressure, use the ultrasound probe to capture and record images of your neck.
The carotid arteries carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the head and neck. Studies have shown a correlation between abnormal carotid and abnormal coronary arteries. Often the CIMT can detect abnormalities in one’s vascular health before carotid or coronary plaque can be detected. A thickening of the intima or media layers of the artery, may mean taking a more proactive approach to managing your personal risk factors for stroke or heart disease. If we detect plaque via the CIMT test, we will begin pursuing more aggressive options to treat vascular disease.