Hinman Connects Blog

New CIMT Test Looks at the Anatomy of the Artery Wall and Saves Lives
Posted: 5/19/2017

Bob Harper, the fitness guru on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” recently had a heart attack at age 51. He’s in much better shape than you and me. He eats better than 95% of Americans. And yet, if there had not been a physician close by, he would have died. At 51.

Unfortunately, our odds of dying from a heart attack or stroke are greater than anything else. In the Vietnam War, the United States lost 58,000 men and women over a period of about ten years. And yet, sadly, that’s also how many people die in this country just from cardiovascular disease EVERY THREE WEEKS. Yes, every three weeks.

Clearly, we should be doing better.

The problem is, in most cases, we wait till the problem is well advanced before we act.  Did you know your arteries have to be about 70% blocked before you fail a stress test?  70% blocked!  Do YOU want to wait that long? You may remember NBC newsman, Tim Russert.  He passed his stress test. He died eight weeks later from a heart attack.

Fortunately, with the help of new technology, we can now see if you have diseased arteries long BEFORE you have  any symptoms and long before the problem shows up with traditional tests. We now can also find out WHY you have the disease and determine specifically what YOU can do about it. The new technology is called the Carotid Intima Media Thickness test (CIMT). Unfortunately, it’s not yet widely available, even in the largest cities or the biggest hospitals.

Carotid Intima Media Thickness test (CIMT)

The good news is that 161 people at the 2017 Hinman Dental Meeting were able to have the test done at the Total Health Pavilion. While it may look similar, this is NOT the same ultrasound test of the carotid arteries that has been available for years. That old test looks at blood flow. The new CIMT test actually looks at the anatomy of the artery wall itself. That’s an important difference. It makes for a much better predictor of your future health.

Your group showed some interesting results. On the good side, 46 people had an arterial age equal to their chronological age. That’s good since, the older your arterial age, the greater the potential for the presence of disease. Even better, 32 individuals had arterial ages at least 5 years younger than their chronological age. However, of the total 161 tested, 34 had arterial ages at least 5 years older than their chronological age. And an additional 49 had arterial ages at least 10 years higher than their chronological age. The person with the biggest difference was an individual with an arterial age 32 years older than their chronological age.

The presence of plaque large enough to be considered clinically significant was found in 78 people of the 161 tested. It is plaque that can rupture and bring on a heart attack or stroke. And this is important, we now know that about 80% of heart attacks and strokes do NOT come from arteries that slowly close up but, rather, from plaque in the artery wall that suddenly ruptures. That’s one of the benefits of the CIMT test. It can see that plaque in the artery wall that traditional tests miss. It can see the disease in the early, but still potentially, dangerous stages.

We may have prevented a heart attack or stroke for some of those in attendance at the meeting. How valuable is that?!  For more information on the CIMT test go to

David L. Meinz, MS, RDN, FAND, CSP
David L. Meinz, MS, RDN, FAND, CSP is an international speaker and author.  He has presented to over 300 dental groups in his career and is a frequent guest on radio and television.  He has presented numerous times at the Hinman Dental Meeting.  For more information on his availability visit 

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