Dr. Julie Reihsen has a special interest in cardiology care, i.e. Heart Attack and Stroke Risk Assessment. Keeping our patients healthy is our greatest priority. She is here to help you understand your risk for heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease. One of these simple tests is a Carotid Intimal Medial Thickness (CIMT) test.
What is Carotid Intima Media Thickness (CIMT) Testing?
Carotid Intimal Medial Thickness (CIMT) testing is a quick, painless, and safe way to help determine your risk for future cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stroke and cardiac death. It is recommended by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology to screen apparently healthy individuals ages 45 or greater for heart disease. The test is much more specific and predictive of heart attack, stroke, and myocardial infarction than are many more expensive tests.
A CIMT scan is a non-invasive technique using ultrasound (sound waves) to detect the presence or absence of atherosclerosis, which is a condition where fatty materials collect along the walls of the arteries.
Key advantages of external ultrasound methods are:
- Lower cost and covered by insurance and Medicare
Convenient and comfortable for the patient while being examined in Dr. Reihsen’s office
Noninvasive, therefore not requiring any IV’s of other body invasive methods
No X-Ray radiation exposure
Ultrasound can be used repeatedly, over years, without compromising the patient’s short or long-term health status
How is the scan performed?
The CIMT test is a non-invasive test using ultrasound to evaluate the carotid arteries on both sides of neck. A gel-like substance will be applied to your neck after which an ultrasound probe will be gently placed to obtain images that will be recorded and stored for review. The test takes about 10-15 minutes to perform.
Why should I be screened, I’m healthy?
In about 50 percent of cases, the first symptom of heart disease is a heart attack or sudden death. Relying solely on risk factors misses many individuals who are at risk.
The carotid arteries in the neck provide a “window” to the coronary arteries in the heart. Both the carotids and the coronaries have the same risk factors. Any degree of atherosclerosis in the carotid arteries can be representative of the atherosclerosis in the vessels of the heart. CIMT is an independent predictor of future cardiovascular events, including heart attacks, cardiac death, and stroke.
Who should have Carotid Intima Media (CIMT) Testing?
CIMT testing is most appropriate for individuals with the following risk factors for vascular disease:
- Family history of heart disease or stroke
Overweight and/or sedentary, are you getting too little exercise?
Increased cholesterol level
Age 40 and over
Tobacco user – Do you smoke?
High blood pressure
Do you have pain or cramping in your calves when walking?
If you answered yes to any of these items on our risk assessment list, you could be facing heart disease, stroke or vascular disease, even if it doesn’t run in your family. Now is the time to take a few minutes to schedule an appointment for cardiovascular risk assessment testing with Dr. Reihsen.
Call our office to schedule an appointment 972-248-2020.