Carotid Intima Media Thickness testing
Carotid Intima-Media Thickness Test
The carotid intima-media thickness test (CIMT) is a measure used to diagnose the extent of carotid atherosclerotic vascular disease. The test measures the thickness of the inner two layers of the carotid artery – the intima and media – and alerts physicians to any thickening when patients are still asymptomatic. Early detection may indicate the need for a more aggressive approach to managing the risk factors associated with heart disease and stroke.
Physicians use CIMT testing to determine the “age” of the carotid arteries. Knowing that patients may not be experiencing the symptoms of artherosclerosis, there still may be subtle changes in artery thickness. Armed with this information, Dr. Wolfson will recommend a nutrition and supplement regimen to reduce cardiovascular risk. The test is usually repeated in 6-12 months to assess the impact of the intervention.
What to Expect During the Carotid Intima-Media Thickness Test
- No preparation is required for the CIMT test. Patients may eat prior and may resume normal activities immediately following the test.
- A thick gel is applied to the skin of the neck. With the use of a transducer (a small microphone-like device), the gel helps the sound waves to get from the machine into the body.
- Sound waves bounce off the carotid arteries. This creates “echoes” that are reflected back to the transducer, which converts them to electronic signals. A computer then processes the signals into pictures and shows them on a computer monitor.