Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Intimal Media Thickness: Is The Time Right?

Many health care providers have discussed various ways to screen patients for peripheral vascular disease (PVD) more economically and effectively.  I have been watching the debate concerning a technique that uses high resolution ultrasound now for about 6 years.  Measuring the intimal media thickness (IMT) in the distal common carotid artery is a promising way because the abnormal thickness of this artery correlates with other forms of PVD to include the coronary arteries of the heart.  What I have not seen is a "Gold Standard" criterion on which to accurately classify a patients risk of adverse cardiovascular events to include heart attacks.  Recent articles are encouraging me to watch this area of research with a keen eye.  We may be close to a workable criterion that will be accurate for most people regardless of outside factors (Race, environment, diet, and other risk factors).  Insurance companies are interested in this technique also because it promises to lower the cost of screening for CV disease.  Please note the link below.
"Today, up to 70 percent of people who have heart attacks are in a low or intermediate risk category for a heart attack when their risk is estimated using traditional risk prediction models. That’s not very predictive, and we need to do better," said Dr. Christie Ballantyne, director of the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at the Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and last author on the study. "Our research shows that a noninvasive ultrasound can give us a more complete snapshot of our patients’ risk, so we can do a better job determining if they’ll have a heart attack."

http://www.physorg.com/news189789340.html
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