The Carotid IMT test uses state-of-the-art ultrasound technology and FDA approved software to measure the thickness of the first two layers of the carotid arteries located in the neck, where blood-flow-blocking plaque first develops. Abnormal, premature thickening of the arterial walls is an early indicator of vascular disease throughout the body. The thicker the arterial wall, the greater the risk for heart attack or stroke. No other test available can measure these silent, early changes as accurately as high-resolution ultrasound imaging used together with the IMT measuring software.
We also specialize in screening for and detecting "soft" plaques, which are imaged and measured with a very high degree of accuracy and confidence. "Soft" plaques are plaques that are located in the arterial walls that have not hardened yet and are vulnerable to rupture. They can cause clots and may lead to future problems without lifestyle changes or medical treatment. These carefully taken plaque measurements, as well as the Carotid IMT measurements, are used as a baseline for direct comparison follow-up studies to assess the stability, progression, or regression of disease. Included in the Carotid IMT exam is a check for critical blockages (70% or more) that would require an immediate consultation with a physician or a vascular surgeon.
The test is a simple, non-invasive, 15-20 minute outpatient procedure that involves no pain, no needles, no pills, and exposes you to no radiation. During the test, you lie flat on an exam table for approximately 15 minutes. A small amount of gel is applied to your neck and sound beams are used to look at the thickness of your carotid arteries and for plaque formations. The test uses sophisticated ultrasound equipment, stringent test examination standards, and requires expert interpretation, so it's not widely available.
InSight Ultrasound Specialists brings decades of Sonography experience together with the latest technology so you can rest assured that the test will be performed as accurately as possible by a company that truly cares about your health.
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Intimal-Medial Thickness (IMT) Test
The identification of patients at risk for heart attack and stroke is of great concern for a physician. There are now several "imaging" tests that can supplement our ability to detect the presence of atherosclerotic plaque in the carotid and coronary arteries.
Many patients have been sent for Electron Beam Cat Scans (EBCT) of their hearts. These tests have also been referred to as "calcium scans". This technique has several notable weaknesses. Most importantly, it does not identify early plaques, which are non-calcified, and cannot be used to track a patient's progress on therapy.
On the other hand, the measurement of Intimal-Medial Thickness (IMT) in the carotid arteries (in the neck) is a painless test that utilizes ultrasound scanning to detect and quantify the amount of thickening just below the inner lining of the carotid artery. No radiation. No needles. No pain. Affordable.
Why look at the neck when you are interested in the heart?
The carotid arteries provide a "window" to the coronary arteries.1Not only do they have similar risk factors - more importantly, the relationship between the atherosclerotic burden in a carotid artery and a coronary artery is the same as between any two coronary arteries. Thus, carotid atherosclerosis provides a window to the degree of coronary atherosclerosis in an individual. By examining the carotid artery wall rather than the blood pathway itself, risk prediction with carotid ultrasound identifies an earlier stage of atherosclerosis than standard Duplex carotid imaging, or any other imaging test for that matter.
Using a high-resolution B-mode ultrasound transducer, the common carotid, the carotid bulb, and the internal carotid artery can be interrogated to identify the presence of non-obstructive plaques and specifically to measure Carotid IMT, the combined thicknesses of the intimal and medial layers of carotid walls. Carotid IMT is an independent predictor of future cardiovascular events, including heart attacks, cardiac death, and stroke.
1Young W, Gofman J, Tandy R, Malamud N, Waters E. The quantitation of atherosclerosis III. The extent of correlation of degrees of atherosclerosis with and between the coronary and cerebral vascular beds. Am J Cardiol 1960;8:300-8.
Early Detection Can Lead to Early Intervention
It's never too late to reduce your risk for heart attack or stroke. You and your physician can use the results of your CIMT test, in combination with your traditional cardiac risk factors, to create a customized heart-health action plan that may include suggestions for lifestyle modifications or specific treatments. Follow-up CIMT testing can track your progress as you work to reduce your risk.
Carotid IMT measurements can detect the minute, subtle thickness changes in the layers of your arterial wall lining and accurately assesses your "vascular age". No other technology approaches the accuracy of this simple, painless and affordable radiation-free exam.
Heart disease (clogging of the arteries) has long held the top spot in the list of causes of death throughout the world. One out every 4 victims of heart attacks will die as a result of their first attack! Despite years of cholesterol education and a billion dollar “fat-free” food industry, Americans still die most commonly from heart attacks and strokes caused by clogged arteries. Until now, physicians could only measure changes once the disease was far advanced and the patient had symptoms.
Now, with The Carotid IMT scan offered by InSight Ultrasound Specialists, your doctor can help you identify your risk for stroke or heart attack with an accuracy better than other more invasive laboratory blood tests or expensive imaging studies. Once your risk is identified, you can develop a defense strategy of lifestyle and dietary changes or make better choices about prescription drugs. In many cases, the disease can be reversed.
Your doctor can monitor the progress of your health choices at appropriate intervals using the IMT scan as a tool to track and chart the atherosclerotic burden in your arteries. Ask your doctor, or call InSight Ultrasound Specialists for a Carotid IMT Scan today. In certain cases, the test may be covered by third party insurance.
EARLY DETECTION OF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE IS A NO-BRAINER, SHERLOCK!