CIMT (Carotid Intima Media Thickness) Testing in St Louis, MO
Michael Twyman, MD at Apollo Cardiology offers the CIMT test to assess the health of the carotid artery. The test provides a “vascular age”. Ideally you want your artery age to be less than your biologic age. Call Us Today or Book an Appointment Online to visit Michael Twyman, MD to learn more information about CIMT Testing.
Your arteries are like waterways in a city for your body. They allow blood to flow freely to and from the heart and to circulate throughout the body. However, when these arteries thicken and plaque starts to build up, then blood cannot flow as efficiently throughout your body, leading to a host of potential problems with your brain, heart, and body. At Apollo Cardiology, we offer the carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) test to measure your carotid arteries’ thickness. This test lets us know how healthy your arteries are and gives us your “vascular age”.
What causes carotid intima thickening?
The carotid artery has three layers of tissue: the adventitia layer, the media layer, and the intima layer. The intima layer is the smooth innermost layer of the carotid artery, while the media is the muscular middle layer, and the adventitia is the outer layer. When the intima layer of the carotid artery thickens, it obstructs blood flow and interferes with blood pressure. This thickening can be caused by several different factors, including aging, alcohol consumption, diabetes, high blood pressure, high lipoprotein levels, lack of exercise, obesity, and smoking. Carotid intima thickening puts individuals at higher risk of developing heart disease or experiencing a stroke. As such, it is imperative to have your carotid intima and media thickness measured if you are at risk or have been experiencing symptoms such as blurred vision, weakness or numbness on one side of the body, severe dizziness or headaches, difficulty speaking, loss of coordination or memory loss. Such symptoms also indicate a stroke, which requires emergency medical care. Getting tested for carotid intima-media thickness early could help you make necessary changes and receive the treatment required to prevent a potential stroke.
What is the normal carotid intima media thickness?
The normal thickness of the intima and media layers of the carotid artery varies slightly according to the patient’s age and sex. For men below the age of 30 to 40, the normal intima-media thickness (IMT) is approximately 0.4mm to 0.5mm. That number rises to 0.45 to 0.6 for men aged 40 and older. For women below the age of 30, the normal IMT is around 0.4mm. For women aged 30 to 50, the normal IMT is approximately 0.4mm to 0.5mm, while for those over the age of 50, that number rises to 0.5mm to 0.6mm.
How is carotid intima media thickness measured?
A carotid intima-media thickness test is conducted to measure the thickness of the intima and media layers of the carotid artery. This test does not require any prior preparation on behalf of the patient to be completed, and patients are free to resume their daily activities once the test is finished. The test is conducted by a physician or a diagnostic medical sonographer. A thick ultrasound gel is applied to the skin on the patient’s neck to begin the test to provide a medium for the transducer to send soundwaves from the CIMT machine to the body. After the gel is applied, the transducer moves around the test area, bouncing sound waves off the carotid arteries. These sound waves echo back to the transducer, which converts the sound waves into electrical signals that travel back to the CIMT machine. This machine processes the electrical signals into images, which appear on a monitor screen. The sonographer or physician can then measure the thickness of the intima and media layers in the carotid artery.
If you would like to learn more about our carotid intima-media thickness tests or schedule a CIMT at Apollo Cardiology, we would be happy to help! Call us at (314) 266-7684 or schedule an appointment through our website. You can find Apollo Cardiology at 7733 Forsyth Blvd, on the 11th floor of the Pierre Laclede building, in St. Louis, Missouri. Apollo Cardiology is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM from Monday to Friday.