The next time you go to see your doctor, you could receive a new, accurate heart disease test that is painless, inexpensive, and fast. The bonus? It’s cheaper than the test that is currently being offered. According to doctors at the Mayo Clinic, the ‘aortic pulse wave velocity test’ (aPWV) could be the latest and greatest predictor of heart disease.
The test wasn’t designed with this purpose in mind, but it’s ability to send a pulse through the aorta to measure its thickness has come in handy. The test only takes 10 to 15 minutes to perform and it’s done using a ‘tonometer.’
A tonometer looks a bit like a pencil, and it is passed over the arteries in the neck and thighs to judge whether the arteries are healthy and elastic or stiff with plaque buildup. The stiffened arteries can also indicate a higher risk of coronary artery calcium. This is another indicator of heart disease risk.
In the latest study, this test was evaluated for its accuracy in predicting heart disease. There were 401 participants with no history of heart attack or stroke who were involved in the study. The patients had the aPWV test administered to them and then they had follow-up tests done as well.
It was found that both the old and new tests could accurately predict the presence of arterial stiffness and coronary calcium buildup, but the aPWV was faster and cheaper to administer.
This means that your doctor could have a better method to test your heart health the next time you go in for your annual physical.