A Carotid Intima-Media Thickness (CIMT) test is an exam that uses ultrasound to measure the thickness of the carotid artery wall and to look for plaque formation within the carotid artery. The carotid arteries supply blood to the brain and are large enough to be seen in great detail using ultrasound, this gives us a window into seeing how your vascular system is doing. Basically, whatever is happening in the carotid arteries is also happening in the rest of the vascular system including the coronary arteries.
Plaque formation actually occurs within the walls of an artery, so by measuring the thickness of the artery wall it can be determined if the early formation of plaque has begun. If the thickness of the carotid artery wall measures more than what is expected for patient age, then a more aggresive treatment plan may be necessary to prevent progression.
CIMT is also an excellant way of "aging" your vascular system. The measurements that are taken are entered into an extensive database and the results indicate the age of your vascular system. The results may show that your vascular system actually appears younger then your stated age which is great news!! The results may also show that your vascular system appears to be in line with someone who is older than your stated age which would suggest that you are at higher risk of developing vascular disease.
Carotid Intima-Media Thickness (CIMT)
CIMT exam showing normal carotid artery wall thickness.
CIMT exam showing a carotid artery with a wall that is much thicker than normal and mild plaque formation.
Here are some important points regarding the CIMT exam
The exam is painless and takes between 15 - 30 minutes to complete
A blood pressure will be obtained prior to the exam.
Three EKG electrodes will be placed on your chest wall so that your heart's rate and rhythm can be monitored.
An ultrasound transducer will be placed on your neck in the area of the carotid artery, gel will be placed between your neck and the transducer.
Both carotid arteries will be examined.
You will be asked to move/tilt your head to better expose the carotid region.
The images will be interpreted by Dr. Klodas with the final report will be delivered to the appropriate person with 5 - 7 business days.
A lipid panel taken within the last 12 months is required for this exam. If this was performed at your primary clinic please bring the results at the time of the exam. For an additional cost a lipid panel can be drawn on the day of the exam.