According to the AHA, 50% of men and 64% of women who die suddenly of Coronary Vascular Disease have no previous symptoms. Early detection is crucial for proper treatment for sustained recovery. CIMT can be used as an ultrasound test that is being recommended by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology to screen for heart disease in apparently healthy individuals age 45 or greater.
The carotid arteries provide a “window” to the coronary arteries and CIMT is an independent predictor of future cardiovascular events, including heart attacks, cardiac death and stroke.
CIMT is a noninvasive test which is performed with a high-resolution B-mode ultrasound transducer. The test is safe, painless and takes about twenty minutes. After applying conducting jelly to the skin over your neck, a small hand-held transducer is applied to image the carotid arteries. The monographer and off-site laboratory measure and report on the combined thicknesses of the intimal and medial layers of the carotid artery walls.
You should get tested if you have the following risk factors for vascular disease:
- Family history of heart disease / stroke
- Overweight / obesity
- Increased cholesterol level
- Age 40 or over
- High-fat diet
- Sedentary / lack of exercise
- Tobacco or alcohol use
- High blood pressure
- Metabolic syndrome
When CIMT’s are found thickened, treatment is generally safe, effective and atherosclerosis can be managed. Risk of heart attack and stroke can be reduced and even avoided altogether.