In 2000, the American Heart Association published guidelines that validated ultrasound measurement of IMT as a test for early detection of cardiovascular disease.
The validity of carotid IMT has been well documented through peer review journals and other articles and publications from a wide variety of sources. A study in “Circulation” from The Journal of the American Heart Association found that CIMT is a surrogate marker for atherosclerosis. The predictive value of IMT was validated in a study assessing the role of carotid arterial intima-media thickness in predicting clinical coronary events that was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Similar articles have been published in “Stroke” from The Journal of the American Heart Association and in the Journal of the College of Cardiology.
The Screening for Heart Attack Prevention and Education (SHAPE) Task Force has recommended a new practice guideline for cardiovascular screening in the asymptomatic at-risk population. This group was comprised of leading cardiologists throughout the country. In summary, the SHAPE Guideline calls for noninvasive screening of all asymptomatic men 45-75 years of age and asymptomatic women 55-75 years of age (except those defined as very-low-risk) to detect and treat those with sub-clinical atherosclerosis. The SHAPE Report points out that, “In the existing guidelines the low-risk and intermediate-risk population account for the majority of heart attacks, and only less than 20% of the total number of the events results from the high-risk population6.”
CIMT has become widely accepted in the patient care community as physicians have recognized the importance of identifying cardiovascular disease at its earliest stages at the primary care physician level.