We are pleased to announce that our practice has acquired a new, FDA-approved technology that uses ultrasound combined with sophisticated computer analysis to detect and monitor the health of arterial blood vessels. The procedure is called ArterioVision ™. It measures Carotid Intima Media Thickness (cIMT), the thickness of the part of the artery wall which correlates with heart disease. The thicker the carotid artery’s inner two layers (intima-media), the greater is one’s risk for heart attack or stroke.
The ultrasound procedure is comfortable, safe, and highly accurate. It uses the same kind of ultrasound that is used to take pictures of babies in the womb. The exam provides, among other things, a comparison of your current age to your arterial age (i.e. the age of your arteries). Based on your results, we can institute therapies and recommend lifestyle modifications to help arrest or even reverse heart disease and stroke. Since the cIMT procedure is repeatably reliable, it can be used over time to measure treatment effectiveness. With proper treatment it is entirely possible for your cIMT to decrease which indicates a decrease in your risk for heart attack and stroke.
The ArterioVision test will also be used in our office to eliminate unnecessary treatment in those patients who may have certain abnormalities but very healthy arteries!
The science behind this procedure was developed at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech)/Jet Propulsion laboratory (JPL) and USC’s Keck School of Medicine. It has been applied in thousands of patients world wide to guide treatment. It is highly validated and gives a precise quantitative measurement unavailable through standard treadmill testing (“stress test”).
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the carotid artery? The carotid artery is the main blood vessel that travels from the heart to the brain. Carotid Intima Media Thickness (cIMT) is a measurement of the thickness of the inner layers of that vessel. How is this different than other tests? Other test look for “blockages in flow” which happens long after arterial wall thickness occurs. The ArterioVision test allows us to take action long before blockages occur. What is the risk of not doing and ArterioVision? Many patients have significant arterial wall thickness but have no symptoms. An ArterioVision test allows such a patient to take a proactive approach to preventing heart attack and stroke. Is the arterial thickening reversible? Yes. With the right therapies and lifestyle modifications, cIMT can be reversed. The ArterioVision test can be repeated to guide our treatment. How long does the test take? About 30 minutes. Expect to be in our office about an hour. How much does the test cost? $300. Will my insurance reimburse me for this test? Probably not. Who should have an ArterioVision Test? Anyone who has a family history of heart disease, heart attack or stroke, are over weight, over the age of 40, have a high fat diet, elevated triglycerides, high LDL (“bad cholesterol”), low HDL (“good cholesterol”), high blood pressure, menopause, diabetes, or a tobacco habit.
Why is Measuring cIMT Important?
About every 26 seconds, an American will suffer a heart attack or stroke, and about every minute someone will die from one. 50% of men and 64% of women who die suddenly of heart disease have no previous symptoms of this disease.Many individuals who develop heart disease have normal cholesterol levels and lack other biomarkers (indicators) of risk.
cIMT measurement provides early detection of risk for heart disease.
cIMT can be reduced. Arteriovision quantifies how lifestyle modifications and therapeutic interventions decreases your risk for heart disease.
Research has proven heart disease can be reversed. cIMT testing can help us in that process.