Do Arteries Talk?
Yes. They do.
And if you Ask the Arteries, you’ll hear:
Best way to show what we do at CardioSound is to show pictures of real arteries. Any successful prevention program must be able to show arteries improving.
If arteries are getting worse, prevention isn’t working.
Real patient. Same artery: before and after 6 months of aggressive medical therapy. Then after 4 years.
This is a real patient with artery disease, called "plaque," the gray stuff highlighted on the left by the red box, on the right by the white bracket. This plaque is thick enough to obstruct the flow of blood. Doppler flow studies showed 60-79% blockage, or stenosis (1). This severe blockage shuts down the flow of blood. To open up the flow, arterial surgery is done when blockage is 80% or more. Turbulent blood flow is seen in the yellow cloud, downstream of the "flow" arrow. “Soft vulnerable plaque” is highlighted in yellow, and is the most dangerous type of plaque. Soft vulnerable plaque is more black than the regular plaque, because it’s mushy like cholesterol jelly with a thin cap, which ruptures and causes a clot or thrombus (which is what causes a heart attack or stroke). This patient also has an “ulcer crater” in the plaque, which is also very dangerous. Risk of having an event in the next 10 years is 90%. Because of his high risk (9% per year), he chose not to wait 6-18 months until the blockage was bad enough to need an operation. Instead, he chose aggressive medical therapy.
6 months later:
After aggressive medical therapy for 6 months, the plaque is smaller and more dense. Because the shrinking plaque is thinner (we call this “plaque regression”), the blood flow is much better, with no more turbulence, no more obstruction to flow. And the soft plaque (highlighted in yellow) is almost gone. The ulcer crater is gone. After 6 months, 10 year event risk is down to 40%.
AFTER 4 YEARS:
Now the plaque is more calcified and even more dense, taking up even less space, so the blood can flow freely. Doppler flow velocities are normal everywhere, meaning that there is now no obstruction to the blood flow. In all the arteries we tested, plaque thickness has improved by 55% overall. After 4 years of aggressive medical therapy, 10 year event risk has been reduced to 10-20%.
Back when we started, this patient’s surgeon was doing ultrasounds every 6 months to prepare for a surgical procedure to open up the blockage. Surgery is indicated when blockage is 80% or more. It was 60-79%. But a surgical procedure or a stent can only fix that one small area of blockage where the stent is placed. Aggressive medical therapy treats all the arteries, all over the body. And taking medications is less expensive.
it didn't get there overnight
Arterial plaque takes years to develop. It doesn't go away quickly. Effective prevention can take years. Start by asking the question, "How much risk do I carry?" Once that has been established, the next question follows, "Who can help me lower my risk?" We can. We know how.
Are my arteries getting better? Or worse?
To learn about our trending system, called Ask the Arteries, click below. To learn about our heart health screening program, designed to answer the question, “How much risk do I carry?”, click the screening button. To learn about risk factors, click that button. To learn about our treatment program, well, you know.
At baseline, peak systolic velocity of the LICA & CCA was 140 and 87 cm/sec respectively, with 2.1 ICA/CCA ratio, consistent with 60-79% stenosis.