Endothelial Dysfunction: Simple, Non-invasive Test Marketed to Predict Heart Attack, Stroke

Tucson, Ariz. [Jan. 11, 2010] – According to the American Heart Association, 50 percent of coronary deaths take place in people with no previous symptoms, including elevated cholesterol levels. However, a new seven-year study by the Mayo Clinic, released in 2009, suggests measuring blood vessel health, or endothelial function, can aide in diagnosis of a wide variety of medical conditions including coronary artery disease, heart attack, stroke, sleep apnea, pre-eclamptic toxemia and even erectile dysfunction.

Physicians now have a new non-invasive test to measure endothelial function and Tucson, Arizona-based medical technology company Medvica International is marketing the device in North America. The Endo-PAT2000, developed by Israeli company Itamar-Medical, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2003 and is already used in 40 other countries.

“The connection between endothelial dysfunction and cardiovascular health was one of the most significant medical discoveries of the last decade and earned the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1998 for three Americans,” says Sharon Snyder, chief executive officer for Medvica. “But until recently there wasn’t a credible, FDA approved device to measure endothelial dysfunction. Endo-PAT’s capabilities have now been validated by hundreds of studies and tests at the nation’s top medical organizations including the Mayo Clinic, Harvard University, the New England Medical Center and the Cleveland Clinic.”

Endo-PAT looks for signs of heart disease and other conditions by using sensors that measure blood flow through a patient’s fingers. The device is small enough to sit on a table and in a 15-minute, office-based test, clinicians can now have a reliable and reproducible index of endothelial function.

“Endothelial dysfunction has been shown to respond well to treatment, including lifestyle modification and drug therapy, suggesting early detection of endothelial dysfunction can lead to treatment to reduce future related conditions,” says Snyder.

The seven-year Mayo Clinic and Tufts-New England Medical Center study published in April 2009 suggests that a patient with low risk (based on Framingham Risk Score) but high endothelial dysfunction is 300 percent more likely to have a heart attack than a patient with low risk and no endothelial dysfunction. In the study, 49 percent of patients whose Endo-PAT test indicated poor endothelial function had a cardiac event during the seven-year study.

Dr. Amir Lerman, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic, explained that a “poor score is a stronger warning than the usual risk factors because it indicates that cardiovascular disease has already begun — but at an early stage when you can more easily control your risks.”

Endo-PAT testing is reimbursable by Medicare and covered by most major U.S. insurance companies.

More information is available at www.medvica.com.

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