New Science New Tests

There is a new scientific understanding of the arterial disease behind heart attack and stroke. New tests enable the Center for Prevention Heart Attack and Stroke to provide more individualized and effective treatments.  Here are a few of the tests:

  • Carotid Intima Media Thickness testing (CIMT).  CIMT measures how “thick” the arterial wall is.  A thick artery is a sick artery.  This is more important than “blockage” in predicting new plaque formation.  Unstable plaque causes heart attacks and strokes.
  • LpPLA2, also known as the PLAC test, rises when arteries are inflamed or “hot.”  You want your arteries to be “cool.”  Other tests for inflammation can also help to guide and monitor the effectiveness of therapy.
  • Genetic testing can inform you of your risk and motivate change in lifestyle and preventive treatment.  It can also guide the choice of the most effective and safe medication and diet.
  • Testing for insulin resistance (prediabetes) is important to identify those who could be developing vascular complications well before they are diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. 
  • Coronary Calcium Score can detect mature plaque in coronary arteries, but can miss new plaque.  It is not useful in monitoring therapy results.  It is used in a more limited role where CIMT does not reveal plaque but there is still suspicion of coronary artery disease.
  • Home Sleep Testing and automated CPAP have made the diagnosis and management of Sleep Apnea more affordable and effective.  Sleep Apnea is a root cause for heart attack and stroke. Treating it can lower your risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • Oral DNA testing can determine if you have certain bacteria in the mouth that are associated with a higher risk of arterial inflammation.  In some cases, this can have a significant effect on management of periodontal inflammation which contributes to heart attack and stroke risk.