Carotid Intima-Media Thickness (CIMT) Test

Coral Gables Executive Physicians

Concierge Internal Medicine & Primary Care located in Coral Gables, FL

Atherosclerosis is a condition that affects blood flow through your arteries, and it can prove fatal if not managed correctly. Robert H. Thomas, MD, FACP, and the team at Coral Gables Executive Physicians in Coral Gables, Florida, use the carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) test to measure the thickness of your artery walls and check for signs of atherosclerosis. Early detection of such problems enables you to receive treatment for atherosclerosis before it becomes an issue. Call Coral Gables Executive Physicians today to find out more.

Carotid Intima-Media Thickness Test Q&A

What is a carotid intima-media thickness test?

A carotid intima-media thickness test or CIMT test is a way of assessing the health of your carotid artery.

Your carotid artery is a major blood vessel that takes blood that’s rich with oxygen from your heart up to your brain. The CIMT test can detect early signs of thickening in your arteries, which could lead to heart disease.

The most common cause of thickening of the arteries is atherosclerosis. Although it can lead to life-threatening conditions like heart attack and stroke, narrowing of the arteries causes virtually no symptoms until you experience a major health crisis.

CIMT testing can find the earlier signs of thickening, so the team at Coral Gables Executive Physicians can treat the problem before it becomes more serious.

What is atherosclerosis?

Atherosclerosis is a disease in which plaque builds up inside your arteries. Plaque is a substance that forms when deposits of cholesterol and debris from your blood start to build up and stick to the inside of the arteries.

Over time the plaque build-up means less blood is flowing through because the area inside the artery is getting narrower. This restricted blood flow can cause diseases like:

  • Coronary heart disease (CHD)
  • Peripheral arterial disease (PAD)
  • Carotid artery disease
  • Chronic kidney disease

Plaque can also cause inflammation, which makes the problem worse. Using the CIMT test, your provider at Coral Gables Executive Physicians is able to detect the earliest stages of fatty plaque development. The CIMT test is so accurate it can pick up the slightest thickening of the arterial wall, even before any plaque starts obstructing blood flow through your carotid artery.

What happens during a carotid intima-media thickness test?

The CIMT test is quite straightforward and doesn’t require any special preparation on your part. Your provider applies gel to your neck, then passes an ultrasound transducer over the artery.

The transducer sends out high-frequency sound waves into the tissues in your neck and records the way in which the sound waves bounce back. This creates pictures of your arteries that show if there’s any thickening present.

The CIMT test takes around 10 minutes. Your provider then reviews the results and discusses them with you. They can create a treatment plan for you based on the degree of thickening and the level of plaque present, to lower your risk of developing heart disease.

Finding any heart health issues at this early stage gives you a chance to act well before your life is at risk, so call Coral Gables Executive Physicians today to arrange your carotid intima-media thickness test.