Heart Disease - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Heart Disease

One out of every two people will die from heart disease - It's the number one cause of death in this country and it often appears without warning or symptoms.

Heart disease can go undetected for years and can strike anyone at any time, which is why St.Vincent Heart Center of Indiana developed and implemented the HeartScan program in 2005.

The HeartScan is a coronary artery scan that measures the amount of "calcified" or "hardened" plaque inside a patient's heart arteries. Through the use of a computed tomography (CT) scanner, a rapid series of images are taken inside the heart, lungs and blood vessels to determine if a patient has early warning signs for heart disease. At a cost of $99, the HeartScan is inexpensive, fast and convenient.

After the HeartScan test is completed, the results are reviewed with the patient. The patient is provided with a percentile ranking and calcium score in a report they can keep. In addition, a copy of the results is sent to their primary care physician upon request.

Since May 2005, St.Vincent Heart Center of Indiana has been able to scan 14,110 people. Of the patients scanned, 22 percent or 3,104 of the calcium scores were in the 75th percentile or higher for heart disease. These patients were immediately referred to a cardiologist for treatment, which potentially saved their lives.

"I'm a 70-year old ice hockey player and avid gardener, which I thought with my active lifestyle, I was in good health," said Richard Marsh, patient of St.Vincent Heart Center of Indiana.  "My daughter encouraged me to take the $99 HeartScan and I'm thankful I did. I was immediately referred to a cardiologist where I learned that I had two blockages at 95 percent within the same artery and another two blockages at 90 percent. I was immediately scheduled for bypass surgery. I'm so very thankful that St.Vincent Heart Center of Indiana offers the HeartScan and that my daughter encouraged me to have it.  Without this screening I could have had a heart attack, which would have caused serious damage or even killed me."

In late 2009, St.Vincent expanded its HeartScan capabilities to other St.Vincent locations in Anderson, Fishers, Indianapolis and North Vernon.  In all, St.Vincent has five convenient locations for patients to receive a HeartScan.

For more information on St.Vincent Heart Center of Indiana and the HeartScan, please click here.

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