CheckUp 13: Getting a HeartScan

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On this February 13, we set aside time for ''CheckUp 13'': a WTHR and St. Vincent Health campaign to encourage you to make your health a priority.

Our emphasis this month is on heart disease and getting a heart scan.

On Friday nights, you'll find Dick Marsh playing hockey at Pan Am Plaza. He's played on the Eli Lilly Hockey team since the 1956-57 season. It's a passion he shares with his 26-year-old grandson, Dustin.

"I always say it gets in your blood or it gets your blood, one way or another, and it gets your teeth once in awhile," said Marsh.

Marsh says he never worried about injuries, or what it took to keep going, even as his heart was failing. His heart disease was discovered after his daughter, Pam Irick, signed him up for a heart scan.

"I really thought he would have a good score and that wasn't the case," Irick said.

Marsh's wife of 43 years, Marci, remembers his reluctance.

"Even the day on our way up here, we live in Greenwood and it was a long drive, he said, 'I wish we wouldn't have signed up for this, you know, I really don't want to drive clear up there'," Marci said.

But she's glad they did.

St. Vincent Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Elaine Moen says Marsh had four blockages. Two were 95 percent blockages and two were 90 percent blockages.

"Two-thirds of his heart muscle wasn't getting enough blood," Moen said.

"They scared me, because they said that I believe they call it the widow maker," Marci said.

The heart scan measures calcified plaque. A score of zero means none is present. A score over 400 is considered extensive calcified plaque. Marsh's score was off the charts - 1500.

"For him doing a heart score was life saving, it truly was life-saving," Moen said.

Two days after the scan, Dick had double bypass surgery. Now, his blood is flowing.

"It's kind of like a better fuel system for your body. You feel...I don't feel like I am approaching 76," Marsh said.

The extra time allowed Dick to make headlines. In fact, he says he is still getting recognized from when he made an impossible $50,000 shot at an Indianapolis Ice game at the Pepsi Coliseum in February 2011.

"It was a 200-foot shot, three-inch puck and a 3 1/4-inch hole from the other end of the Coliseum," Marsh said.

It resulted in a $50,000 donation to fight heart disease.

"People said, 'I've been coming here to games for 35 years and never seen anybody do that'," Marsh said.

Marsh's his wife isn't sticking around to see if he can top that feat. Marci refuses to watch the hockey these days. She's more worried he'll break a hip rather than hurt his heart. Hockey is boy's night, but she's grateful the scan led to a fix that's made it possible to weekly bond with his grandson.

"I really don't think he'd be here today if he hadn't have done it, I really don't," she said.

Doctors recommend the heart scan for patients who are 40 or older and have a least one of these risk factors: Family history, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking or obesity.

This month's CheckUp 13 offer is a $49 heart scan. They're being offered at one of these locations: Hancock Regional Hospital, Hendricks Regional Health System, Henry County Hospital
St.Joseph Hospital, St.Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital, St.Vincent Carmel Hospital, St.Vincent Clay Hospital, St.Vincent Heart Center of Indiana, St.Vincent Indianapolis Hospital, St.Vincent Jennings Hospital, St.Vincent Medical Center Northeast and St.Vincent Williamsport Hospital

You may register online now through midnight Wednesday or call the hotline when it opens at 8:00 a.m. The number is 1-866-U-CHECK-13.

Please understand there is high demand, so it may take several days to respond to all the requests and schedule your appointment.