(BPT) - New research, appearing in The American Journal of Cardiology, shows non-invasive ultrasound evaluation of the carotid arteries in the neck is helpful in identifying patients at high risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack, even if they have few traditional risk factors and no symptoms.
The research, which took place from 2007 to 2011, studied 1,464 asymptomatic adults between the ages of 23 and 87 - none of which had any previous signs heart disease. The research found the ultrasounds were good at finding patients with high levels of plaque in their carotid arteries that would not have been suspected through traditional questions based on health history, diet and smoking preferences. These patients could then be warned about their risk and undergo proper treatment and lifestyle alterations.
For patients and health care professionals alike, the findings are positive news. Ultrasound of the carotid artery gives doctors a safe, easy way to gather accurate data. At the same time, they are not forced to have their patients suffer through radiation or any invasive procedure. Instead, the ultrasound process is quick and painless but the information gleamed from it is can determine what steps are taken next.
To better understand your risk of CVD disease, make learning more about ultrasound screening of the carotid arteries part of your next conversation with your doctor. You may just find the simplest procedure can protect you from the world's deadliest disease.
Today, cardiovascular disease (CVD) events remain the leading cause of death in the United States and across the world. At the same time however, researchers are working hard to identify CVD risks before they become events, and protect people before their lives are threatened. New research and technology is aiming to reduce the fatality rate of CVD by making it easier to identify patients at risk earlier on.