- Introducing HeartSaver CT™
- The Problem Is Atherosclerosis
- Frequently Asked Questions
Introducing HeartSaver CT™
Last year, more than 1.5 million Americans suffered heart attacks. Most never saw it coming. They felt fine. One-third of them died without ever suspecting the "silent killer" was at work in their bodies.
The Problem Is Atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis is the leading cause of heart disease. Commonly called "hardening of the arteries," atherosclerosis actually involves the buildup of plaque -fatty materials, cholesterol, calcium and fibrin - inside the arteries. When the plaque sufficiently blocks the flow of the artery, a heart attack can result. Traditional cardiac tests, such as treadmill tests, thallium stress tests, and echo-cardiograms, do not detect the early signs of coronary athero-sclerosis. Most tests require significant blockage --often up to 70%-- before yielding a positive finding. Heartsaver CT™ helps screen for potential heart disease before systems appear.
Frequently Asked Questions:What is HeartSaver CT™?
HeartSaver CT is breakthrough technology that can uncover heart disease at its earliest stages. Because of its advanced speed, it is capable of scanning the heart while it is beating. The scans provide images of the coronary arteries and the calcium that has developed within them.
Coronary artery calcium is a marker for atherosclerosis, the leading cause of coronary artery disease. While traditional risk-factor tests suggest a probability of atherosclerosis, they cannot determine whether the disease is, in fact, present. Thus, HeartSaver CT™ is an important addition to traditional methods of coronary artery disease risk assessment.What do the results mean?
Results include photographic images and a calcium score (reflecting the amount of calcium within the coronary arteries) with interpretation guidelines. Your score is identified as very low risk, low risk, moderate risk, high risk or very high risk.What makes this different from traditional tests?
Traditional risk-factor tests do not always predict coronary artery disease. For example, it's been shown that a significant number of patients with elevated cholesterol levels will never develop a coronary event. Yet, at the same time, many with normal cholesterol levels do develop significant disease. A treadmill test can detect major flow-obstructing lesions, but HeartSaver CT may be more appropriate first as an early screening for patients who do not have symptoms.What is it like getting a Heartsaver CT™
Getting a HeartSaver CT™ is painless, non-invasive (meaning no needles) and takes very little time. The scan itself can be completed in less than seven minutes. Because the scanner is "open," there is no "claustrophobic" experience. EKG leads are attached to the patient, who is then asked to lie on a padded table that moves slowly through the scanner. At one point, the patient is asked to briefly hold his or her breath while the scanner takes the photographic images. The HeartSaver CT™ technologist talks to the patient throughout the procedure, explaining everything as it happens.Are there any risks involved, such as radiation exposure?
The risk with HeartSaver CT™ is virtually non-existent. The X-ray dose for each study is approximately equivalent to one abdominal X-rayAre there any special pre-test instructions?
There are few pre-test instructions. It is preferable to not smoke or consume caffeine within eight hours prior to the exam. Women may be more comfortable in slacks or skirt and blouse, rather than a dress, to make placing the EKG leads easier.Who should have this test?
This test is for males and females with a known risk factor for developing coronary artery disease:
Male aged 30-60 or female aged 40-70 with one or more of the following risk factors:
- Family history of heart disease
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Inactive lifestyle