Utah company’s test aims to prevent heart attack, stroke

Posted at 10:10 PM, Jun 02, 2013

SALT LAKE CITY – A Utah based company has developed a test that may help prevent heart attacks and strokes nationwide.

CardioRisk Laboratories, which has its headquarters in Utah, created the Carotid Intima Media Thickness test. The procedure is a non-invasive way of predicting a patient’s risk of heart attack or stroke.

President and CEO Todd Eldredge, CardioRisk Laboratories, compared arteries to teeth in order to explain the test’s purpose.

"It's like plaque on a tooth,” he said. “You don't ever see plaque on a single tooth. If you have plaque on one tooth you have it in your whole mouth. This is the same kind of concept that if you find plaque here on the carotid arteries, you're going to find it systemically."

Eldredge said the test can detect atherosclerosis, which is a hardening of the arteries.

"Atherosclerosis is the disease process that accounts for approximately 70 percent of the heart attacks and stroke,” he said. “And with a CardioRisk CIMT test, we can see atherosclerosis in its earliest stages,  again, so that we don't have to see people keeling over dead in a parking lot."

Eldredge said early detection can be a lifesaver.

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that adage is certainly true as it relates to our arteries,” he said.

The test costs $250 and is covered by most insurance companies. The test is conducted using technology similar to an ultrasound. Eldredge said the test can be performed quickly.

"We're simply going to put a transducer or a probe on the neck with a little conductive jelly, and again it's no pain,” he said. “It's just a very simple procedure. When we're done we wipe the gel off, and you walk away."

The images from the test go to the labs offices in South Jordan and are then sent back to the doctor and patient within two and five days. The test is recommended for those older than 45 or anyone with two or more risk factors for heart attack or stroke, which include high cholesterol, smoking, obesity or diabetes.

Eldredge said heart disease is deadly, and his company hopes to mitigate that danger.

"Heart attacks and strokes kill more people than the next three leading causes of death combined,” he said. “So you take all car accidents, all forms of cancer, you add them together—cardiovascular events kill more people every year than all of those combined."

Click here for more information about the test.