New tests possible for certain patients
Those of us who are a little concerned about the state of our cardio-vascular system should be encouraged by the results of a new U.S. study. The study of more than 4,000 people showed that thickening of the carotid artery walls in the neck is a better predictor of heart attack and stroke in elderly people than either high cholesterol or high blood pressure.
Reported in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, the study involved ultrasound tests on the carotid arteries in people over 65. Test subjects had no history of heart disease or stroke-related illness. According to the study’s lead researcher, the data shows that the simple ultrasound test, which detects damage to the blood vessels before the patient has symptoms, is the best predictor of future heart attack and stroke.