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What is the Carotid Intima Media Thickness ?

The Carotid Intima Media Thickness, also known as IMT is defined as the distance between the lumen-intima and the media-adventitia interfaces and it is an early biomarker of cardiovascular disease and increasing cardiovascular risk.

The IMT is a demanding measurement because its medium value typically lies around 550 micrometers on images of 100 micrometers resolution.

This value is automatically obtained thanks to an innovative edge detector, powered by Quipu, applied on B-mode ultrasound images of the vessell.

Thank to Quipu’s subpixel edge detector algorithm the typical image resolution limits can be overcome. 

In fact, Quipu’s innovative mathematical operator can reach a subpixel precision (i.e. 20 micrometers) in IMT measurements (ref).

Why IMT is so important?

Carotid Intima Media Thickness is included as sub-clinical target organ damage in 2013 ESH-ESC guidelines for risk stratification in hypertensive patients [ref].

Large epidemiological studies (ref 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8) have consistently reported the predictive value of IMT for myocardial infarction or stroke independent of other traditional cardiovascular risk factors.

What is Carotid Stiffness?

Besides the importance of a morphological  biomarker such as IMT, big emphasis has been placed also on a functional vascular parameter: Arterial Stiffness.

Local Stiffness at the carotid site (i.e. Carotid stiffness) is a mechanical parameter that can be estimated by instantaneous diameter assessment from B-mode ultrasound in conjunction with local pressure measurement.

Why Carotid stiffness assessment is so important?

Large epidemiological studies (ref. 1,2) have been investigating the relationship between carotid stiffness and different cardiovascular risk factors.

Carotid stiffness was associated with hypertension, diabetes, physical activity and increased cardiovascular risk in patients who already had vascular disease.

The local stiffness evaluation by Carotid Studio has been validated by a comparison with a RF-data based system that is considered the gold-standard technique for its high spatial resolution.

The mentioned paper shows that Carotid Studio is in agreement with the gold-standard device and has similar precision (i.e. reproducibility) (ref).

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