In late 2008 I introduced blood tests known as Advanced Lipid Testing to my patients; a test which goes much deeper than the traditional lab testing for both cholesterol and genetic testing. This test helps reveal markers and genetic predispositions that can drastically improve both preventative and current treatment plans.
A few years later I began offering my patients Carotid Intima Media Thickness, or CIMT testing. CIMT scanning is one of the most accurate non-invasive screening tests available for predicting the risk of heart attack or stroke. Until recently, this test wasn’t even available for anything other than research, and I’m pleased to offer it to my patients.
Some of you may recall the news story about Tim Russet, moderator of Meet the Press, who died a few years ago after suffering a massive heart attack. What was shocking about this news story was the fact that just two months previous he had a complete physical and had passed a stress test.
Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in our population, and as many as 50% of those who died from heart attacks or strokes had no previous signs or symptoms. We have the technology to detect subclinical atherosclerosis (plaque which is not yet causing symptoms) and follow disease stability with structural testing (the CIMT scan) and biomarkers. This is a half hour procedure performed in our office that is simple, painless, and free of any radiation. An ultrasound is performed on your carotids (on the neck) which shows if any plaque has accumulated in your arteries.
There is a 96% correlation between plaque in the carotids, and plaque in the coronary arteries of the heart. This test will not only reveal if you have any plaque, but also the number of lesions, their size, and often their stability. This test allows me to be even more proactive in your medical care and treatment.
More About Your Arteries
Carotid Intima Media Thickness is the thickness of the inner two layers of the wall (the intima and the media) of the carotid artery. CIMT scanning can identify this at the early stages of atherosclerosis, alerting us to give you the chance to modify your lifestyle. Many things can affect the thickness of the vascular lining, and both genetics and environmental factors (including smoking, exercise, and diet) each play a big part.
Billing and Scheduling
If you decide to have this testing done, we will submit the bill to your insurance company; at this time, most insurance companies are covering this procedure.
The test is performed in our office. If you’re interested in having this scanning done, please give our office a call to schedule your appointment, as spaces are limited. Once you’ve had your CIMT scanning, we will schedule you for a follow up appointment so I can discuss the results with you.