There are several scans available that assess the health of your cardiovascular system. So why choose a C-IMT ultrasound scan?
The answer boils down to selecting the scan that provides you with the right information so you can make the best healthcare and lifestyle decisions.
For most of us, the goal is finding answers to the following questions:
- What information do you need?
- Which scan gives you the best information for the money?
- How will the information from a particular scan help you make smart healthcare and lifestyle decisions?
What Information Do You Need?
When it comes to cardiovascular health, the most common question patients ask their doctors is some version of, “How likely am I to have a heart attack or stroke?”
To answer that question, doctors frequently request their patients undergo a series of lab tests and scans. The results of these tests and scans give doctors detailed information about their patients’ cardiovascular health.
The most important information these tests and scans offer is confirmation that you do (or do not) have plaque inside the lumen of your arteries (where the blood flows) or inside the walls of your arteries.
If the buildup of plaque inside the walls of your arteries is greater than the level of a healthy 40-year-old man or a healthy 50-year-old-woman, then it is time to take action and reverse this buildup. Reversing this kind of plaque can be achieved by medications like statins and PCSK9 inhibitors such as Repatha and Praulent. Lifestyle changes like diet, activity, sleep, and stress management can also help reverse this plaque buildup (and even the buildup of what cardiologists call “plaque material” because the thickness of the buildup hasn’t reached 1 mm).
Once the plaque buildup inside the smooth-muscle walls creates enough pressure, it will likely “erupt” like a tiny volcano and spew plaque into the lumen of your artery — which can have devastating, sometimes fatal, consequences.
The thickness of the plaque buildup between the Intima and Media layers of an artery (called the “IM thickness”) is a highly accurate measure of arterial inflammation (atherosclerosis), which is the most common form of cardiovascular illness. The thicker the I-M layer, the more plaque material is stored within the arterial walls, the greater the level of inflammation, and the more dangerous the disease.
Which scan gives me the best information for the money?
The following scans are available at many hospitals or scanning centers:
- Carotid Doppler
Here is a list of the national average prices obtained by a simple Google search:
|Carotid Doppler||C-IMT||CT Angiogram||EBCT|
The cost of a medical scan is important, especially if you need to save up money to have one. The price, however, doesn’t determine the value of the information you receive from a scan.
How will the information from a particular scan help you make smart healthcare and lifestyle decisions?
A C-IMT ultrasound scan tells you the type of plaque you have (soft, mixed, or hard), how much there is (measured to 1/1000 of a millimeter), and the exact location. This scan also measures the buildup of plaque inside the smooth muscle walls of your arteries to 1/1000 of a mm.
A carotid doppler scan can also detect plaque; although, this scan is generally used to record blood velocity. Unfortunately, the type of soft plaque that causes most strokes and heart attacks is NOT usually associated with an abnormally high blood velocity. That said, a significant increase in blood velocity does indicate a large obstruction is dramatically restricting blood flow to the brain — which can be life threatening.
A coronary CT angiogram does evaluate soft plaque in the coronary arteries of the heart. This scan is commonly used after a patient reports symptoms like chest pain, chest tightness, and other precursors to a heart attack. A CT angiogram of the heart supplies 3-5 millisieverts (mSv) of radiation — the equivalent of 1-2 years’ worth of radiation from natural sources.
An EBCT heart scan also uses ionizing radiation to detect hard (calcified) plaque. An annual “calcium score” test of your coronary arteries is a good way to keep track of the accumulation of hard plaque in these arteries. Hard plaque is the most stable form of plaque, therefore, it is the least likely to cause a heart attack or stroke. While a calcium score provides valuable information, it is not necessarily predictive of your probability of having a heart attack or stroke, because softer plaque is more likely rupture or break lose and cause a heart attack or stroke.
What separates the C-IMT ultrasound scan CorScans uses from other health scans?
As mentioned above, a C-IMT ultrasound scan identifies the presence of plaque, which type of plaque, how much, and where — and the diagnosis of plaque is highly accurate (1/1000 mm).
The cost is affordable (national average: $250; CorSanitas’ price: $150). Also, there are no harmful effects from the non-ionizing radiation used in a C-IMT ultrasound scan.
Most importantly, this scan provides you with the right information to make smart healthcare and lifestyle decisions.
For more information about scheduling a C-IMT ultrasound scan, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-519-2433.