Dr. Steven Reisman, a New York City Cardiologist and Director of The New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center announces the recent implementation in his office of a device to measure “endothelial dysfunction” which is a measurement useful in the early detection of risk for heart attack and stroke. The device is call EndoPat and it is a fifteen minute test  with the patient lying down and probes put on one finger in each hand to measure the ability of blood vessels to dilate after the inflation of a blood pressure cuff for several  minutes.

EndoPat measures reactive hyperemia. Reactive hyperemia is calculated automatically by the device and shows the degree of vascular reactivity. Several recent studies have shown an abnormal test reveals dysfunction which can be an early risk factor for the development of atherosclerosis and “hardening of the arteries” and may also be a contributor to the progression of atherosclerosis.

The measurement of endothelial dysfunction is important in the early determination of risk for atherosclerosis; endothelial dysfunction may even be present before the occurrence of obstructive blockages on other imaging modalities. It is known that the process of atherosclerosis begins early in life and endothelial dysfunction contributes to this disease state and in fact precedes the development of plaque in the blood vessels.

Thus the use of this device to measure endothelial dysfunction or flexibility verses stiffness of the blood vessel is important in individuals early on to identify those who need aggressive life style changes along with risk factor modification in the prevention of both heart attack and stroke. Many interventions such as exercise, weight reduction, a healthy diet, and occasionally medications have been demonstrated to be beneficial in improving endothelial function. EndoPat can also be used to follow the individual’s response to these interventions over time.

EndoPat has been shown to be useful in many groups of patients including those with a family history of coronary artery disease, individuals with chest pain, those with elevated levels of cholesterol or triglycerides, diabetics, those with hypertension, women with chest pain, and also men with erectile dysfunction.

Dr. Steven Reisman, Director of the New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center, recommends that EndoPat can also be used in younger and middle age individuals as an early indicator of the need for aggressive attention to life style modification in those who are at increased risk for heart attack and stroke.