There's growing interest in carotid screening. The intima-media thickness (IMT) is a highly accurate predictor of cardiovascular risk. It can be particularly useful for predicting risk over the next three to 10 years in people aged 40-70, so even if other risk factors are low they can be given a statin and blood pressure lowering treatment. This study, worryingly, found increased carotid IMT in children of parents with premature heart attacks. An editorial warns against medical intervention without further study but says lifestyle advice for the whole family is certainly a good idea.
Source: Heart 2009;95:611-612