The carotid intima-media thickness test (CIMT) is a measure used to diagnose the extent of carotid atherosclerotic vascular disease. The test measures the thickness of the inner two layers of the carotid artery – the intima and media – and alerts physicians to any thickening when patients are still asymptomatic. Early detection may indicate the need for a more aggressive approach to managing the risk factors associated with heart disease and stroke.
Aging is a contributing factor to increased carotid intima-media thickness. Other risk factors include high lipoprotein levels, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle.