IMT Scan – 5-Minute Radiation-free Test to assess Heart Attack or Stroke risk

Coronary artery disease and stroke are a major cause of serious illness and death in our country. Being able to predict, with reasonable accuracy, the probability of a person suffering from significant atherosclerosis can make a huge difference to health and lower the risk of mortality. The “Carotid Artery IMT Ultrasound” (IMT stands for Intima-Media Thickness) aims to do just this – give risk of getting atherosclerotic coronary artery disease or stroke. The IMT scan should not be confused with the carotid Doppler exam which is a more detailed ultrasound study of the neck arteries which is typically performed when blockages are suspected.


Almost no special preparation is required for this procedure. The patient should leave all jewelry at home and wear loose comfortable clothing. The procedure takes just 5 minutes.

The Benefits of the IMT Scan

The information gained from the IMT scan gives an approximate risk of cardiovascular and stroke risk that exists so that measures may be taken to prevent the occurrence of such diseases. Among the areas where IMT is most effective is the case of people at intermediate risk for coronary heart disease, those with metabolic syndrome, diabetes or a family history of premature heart disease.

With the use of the IMT scan those at risk can be advised of lifestyle changes and behavioural modifications that can lower the risk. For example, simply showing smokers images of the effect that smoking has on their arteries may be enough to motivate them to stop.


Article by Dr. Iyappan Ponnuswamy, MD, FRCR
Chief Radiologist, Kauvery Hospital