SonoSite improves early risk assessment of cardiovascular disease
Hand-held ultrasound systems provider SonoSite Inc. introduced SonoCalc IMT software at this week's American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions in New Orleans, La.

Used in conjunction with the SonoSite's Titan system, the SonoCalc allows physicians to measure the intima-media thickness (IMT) of the carotid arteries and assess a patient's risk of cardiovascular disease early. It also enables doctors to visualize disease progression to the patient by showing the patient the IMT scan, SonoSite said.

SonoCalc's features include: fully automated, single click IMT measurement; semi-automated, user-guided IMT measurement for difficult images; statistical analysis of multiple IMT measurements; IMT measurements stored with corresponding patient information; and professional report generation summarizing one or more IMT measurements for a particular patient.

According to the AHA, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, affecting an estimated 64 million people. Research indicates that the arterial wall lining or IMT of the carotid arteries becomes thickened years before plaque develops within the vessel. This increased wall thickness is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

"What I have found is that patients with intermediate or limited risk factors, such as moderately elevated cholesterol, who would normally go untreated, may truly be at high risk for a cardiovascular event," said Regina Drueding, MD, internal medicine physician in Bountiful, Utah, and a user of the software. "An IMT scan provides us the right information to help prevent and better manage the disease. Currently, the most effective way of measuring a patient's IMT is with ultrasound to easily and non-invasively capture images of the carotid artery wall for analysis."