Offering another preventive step in maintaining cardiac health

Keeping your heart healthy is a vital part of a long and worry-free life. Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital is pleased to offer one more preventive step in maintaining cardiac health with the new Cardiac Calcium CT Score Screening.
The screening only takes 15 minutes and does not require a physician’s order. The CT screening looks at your heart to see if you have any calcium buildup in your coronary arteries. Calcified plaque results when fat and other substances build up under the inner layer of the artery. This material can calcify, which signals the presence of atheroscelerosis, a disease of the vessel wall.
It could even help prevent a possible heart attack in the future through early detection of a major calcium buildup.
“It’s just a good baseline look at your heart, “ said Fred Mueller, Manager of Diagnostic Imaging at Susan B. Allen, “especially if you have a family history of heart disease, high cholesterol or diabetes.”
The diagnostic report of results includes: total and detailed cardiac calcium scoring, score summary, ranking guide and reporting of any incidental findings in the non-cardiac structures.
The screening is for those age 35 years old and older.
“If you have high cholesterol, family history, things start showing up earlier,” he said. “You just never know.”
If a person already has bypass graphs, stents or known coronary disease, the test will not benefit them because the stents or graphs would interfere with the results.
Through the screening tests, Mueller said they have picked up lung nodules and even an esophageal tumor was found at an earlier stage than it would have been without the screening.
To prepare for the test, Mueller recommends a person avoid caffeine for 12 to 24 hours so he or she will have a slower heart rate, which provides for a better test.
Once the screening is complete, a technologist will determine the calcium score and then turn the scan over to the Radiologist at Kansas Imaging Consultants, who will re-score it and also look at the non-cardiac structures.
Results will be mailed to a patient in a few days and they can then follow up with their Primary Care Physician if needed.
SBA was able to begin offering this new screening due to a software upgrade in their department.
Eventually, Mueller said he would like to be able to offer coronary CTAs, which look at arteries with contrast. This would be like a heart catherization, but less invasive and with a 98 percent accuracy rate. This is something Mueller is working toward at SBA.
For more information on the Cardiac Calcium CT Score Screening, which costs $99 (paid when you check in), call 316-322-4510.

About Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital
Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital is a not-for-profit, general acute care hospital that includes a 24-hour physician staffed emergency department, family birth center, home health agency, dialysis center, cancer center, and a family medical care facility in Augusta.  The Hospital is governed by a local board of citizens, and is accredited by the Joint Commission.