IMT Scanning

A couple of months ago I was lucky enough to be offered this scan on the NHS. This technology can measure the thickness of the artery wall in your neck and see if there is any plaque. It is a good indication of the state of your coronary arteries apparently.

My results have just shown that one artery is OK but the other is slightly thickened putting me above the 75th percentile for my age (57). Sounds like the cat food advert, but 75% of women of 57 have a thinner artery wall.

These results came just at the time when I was feeling fed up with the thought of taking statins for the rest of my life especially thinking about side effects.

I now have physical evidence that I do actually need to take them and it has made me feel better.

I would be interested to hear if anybody else has had a scan or feels like I do about taking life long medication to prevent heart attacks and strokes.

14 Replies

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  • Thank you Traci, yes I am. I am also acutely aware that there are others on this site who have to take statins at a much earlier age than me and they are not making a meal of it. I will stop being a moaning minnie.

    I read on a wacky website that optimistiic women have better IMT "scores".....so that is my problem, I am only optimistic on one side!!!

  • I have never been offered the scan. Although I hate having to take statins I would be a bit nervous about the result of the scan incase they tell me I have only something like a 1mm space left in my artery!! I might enquire about it at my next lipid clinic appointment.

  • I felt exactly the same way and would have liked to have been told that I had the arteries of an 18 year old. I think the main advantage is in planning your long term risk as plaque formation takes many years. Knowing your risk can influence your current treatment.

    I get so angry about all the "statin hype" especially comments like every body over 50 should be taking them , but I have come to the conclusion that we are one group of people who really need to be taking them. There are probably hundreds of thousands out there who don't.

  • Actually I meant there are probably many people who are taking statins who don't need to, sorry to be controversial!

    I think people at high risk , which includes everybody with FH, FCH or polygenic hypercholesterolaemia absolutely do need to be taking them , no question. However this doesn't mean that everybody else at low/medium risk or over 50 should be prescribed them which is maybe the way we are going. It also makes those of us that have to take them feel "wobbly" when we read about side effects, long term use and so on.

    However, much better to feel wobbly than to have a heart attack, I agree!

  • Hi, I know your posting was awhile ago, but just reading it and thought I'd drop you a line to say how lucky you are to be taking statins, no body checked me and I had a really bad heart attack, so on medication for the rest of my life, i am 56

  • Hi Mags,

    Thanks for replying. I have had trouble with side effects from statins but the biggest thing I was lucky enough to change in time was my lifestyle.

    I was 2 stone overweight with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high sugar. I have no doubt that if I had carried on I would be heading for type 2 diabetes and a heart attack by now. It was really because my husband had high blood pressure that I thought I would just amble along and get mine checked.

    I count myself lucky that I have had prior warning. The only thing now that is high is my cholesterol...and I am working on that!

    I do hope that you are recovering well. Keep in touch.

  • I had the scan yesterday at Guys, I am 29 Y/O with FH, I hope after almost ten yrs of statins I do not have too much thickening, but I don't yet know the result so i'll have to wait !! my level is still 7ish-8

  • Yes, that's where I had mine done. I thought it said everything about the NHS. World class technology hidden away in the dingiest part of the hospital down endless corridors!

    Good luck with your results and let us know. Guys are good but wouldn't it be interesting to know if other lipid clinics offered it.

  • I might ask about it next time I go, I'm 29 with FH, not taking statins at the mo, just colestagel, my level usually around 8. I've heard of this scan as my mum had it but thought I might be too young! We'll see what my lipid doc says!

  • Hi Laura,

    I was really interested to hear that you have FH and are not on statins, good luck with getting results. I don't know about age limits with IMT scanning as it doesn't affect me! However, results are matched against people of your age group..but having said that consultant told me that people with FH are in the highest bracket anyway just because they have FH .

    You know that you have FH already so not sure if IMT scanning would help but obviously ask your doctor. Does your mum have FH as well?

  • Hi, yes my mum has FH and her brother does also, my mums gran and great gran died quite young from heart problems (before high cholesterol was known about I suppose) she has always had a level around 10, she has hardened arteries in her neck and also the White rings on her eyes (she's had the rings since 19)! I'm not on statins as I am planning on starting a family soon! When I was on statins they only brought my level down to 7 point something, I'm looking forward to seeing the results from just the tablet im on now as I find it really easy to take, I'm going Monday:)!! luckily I have high good cholesterol and low triglycerides so not as bad as my mum. I agree with you it's hard to take the medication when you can't physically see the difference it is making especially when it's a condition that is on a par with other conditions that get free prescriptions (but that's another story lol)

  • Delighted to hear that you are planning a family, hope all goes well ! I vaguely remember reading that cholesterol levels fluctuate in pregnancy anyway...but can't remember which way!

    Hearing about your past family members that died young really makes me appreciate living in 2011 when we have the technology and drugs to do something about it. Must make a mental note to stop moaning so much!!

    Good luck with results on Monday, let us know how it goes.

  • Got my results overall cholesterol is down from 9.3 to 8.6! LDL 6.6, HDL 1.5, TG 1.1! he's doubling my dose, I was on the lowest so he wasn't expecting much change! 2 tablets twice a day now, test again in 1 month :-0! Just glad I'm not on statins or that horrible powder :-)

  • That's good news that your levels are down. Does your specialist expect to see much more difference on a double dose?

    What was that horrible powder?

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