According to Israeli company Itamar Medical, “Endo-PAT2000 adds an important dimension to cardiac medicine by enabling physicians to reliably and non-invasively measure endothelial function and identify pathological cases of dysfunction”.
A recent study from the Mayo Clinic seems to confirm it:
The study compared results of both invasive and noninvasive tests of dysfunction in a layer of cells called the endothelium that lines the blood vessels. The endothelium protects vessel walls from injury and helps modulate their expansion and contraction to maintain appropriate blood flow and blood pressure. Endothelial dysfunction is the earliest measure of functional abnormality in the blood vessels, so coronary endothelial dysfunction signals the beginning stages of atherosclerosis and heart disease. Researchers are examining how this blood vessel dysfunction in the body’s extremities, such as the fingers, can be a sign that the same problem exists in the heart.
In the study, researchers investigated the value of reactive hyperemia peripheral arterial tonometry (RH-PAT) by using a fingertip probe to assess the relationship between dysfunction in the heart region and dysfunction in extremities. Through invasive testing in the catheterization lab of the 94 patients participating, the team found 55 had coronary endothelial dysfunction. By comparing these results against RH-PAT, the researchers found a threshold value for the fingertip test that would have identified the majority of the patients with early heart disease.
The study findings indicate a potential role for RH-PAT as a test to identify individuals like this prior to an invasive procedure such as angiogram, or perhaps even to find who need more aggressive treatment to slow or stop the progression of cardiovascular disease.
Update: Healthday has more.