FREDERICKSBURG, Va., July 5, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- A painless screening exam that provides early warning of risks for heart attacks and strokes is now available at Virginia Interventional & Vascular Associates (VIVA).
The carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) screening exam detects early signs of atherosclerosis, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, explained Dr. R. Donald Doherty, Jr., a board-certified, fellowship-trained interventional radiologist with VIVA.
CIMT screening measures the thickness of the inner walls of the carotid artery with the aid of enhanced ultrasound. Vascular technologists perform the exam by placing an ultrasound probe against the patient's neck. A board-certified interventional radiologist then compares the measurements with the patient's medical history and data from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, providing same-day results to patients.
Exam results can help patients and referring physicians make changes in diet, exercise, and/or medications that reduce the chances of heart attacks and strokes. Analysis of nine clinical trials showed a strong correlation between reduction of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and CIMT, with each 10% reduction in LDL-cholesterol accounting for a reduction of CIMT by .73% per year.
"Based on the results, we can contact the physician responsible for the patient's care to indicate whether the patient may be at medium or high risk for heart attack and stroke," Dr. Doherty said. "Then the physician can determine whether the patient needs to be treated more aggressively."
The American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology have concluded that CIMT screening by qualified providers can benefit patients who are at intermediate risk of cardiovascular disease.
VIVA recommends that the following patients consider screening*:
- Women 55-75 with one or more risk factors.
- Men 45-75 with one or more risk factors.
- Risk factors include uncontrolled diabetes, uncontrolled high blood pressure, obesity, smoking more than one pack of cigarettes daily, or a family history of heart disease.
Most insurers do not cover the exam, which costs $175 at VIVA.
VIVA is accredited by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission for Vascular Laboratories. Its vascular technologists are registered through the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers.
For information, call (540) 654-9118 or visit www.vivassociates.com.
*Several groups have issued medical guidelines, including Screening for Heart Attack Prevention and Education (SHAPE), and the American Society of Echocardiography.
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SOURCE Virginia Interventional & Vascular Associates