New type of scan saves hearts

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Now, breakthrough technology that is helping detect heart disease in a fraction of a second -- and saving lives. (KFSN)

Every year more than 735,000 Americans have a heart attack. Heart disease kills 600,000 Americans. Now, breakthrough technology that is helping detect heart disease in a fraction of a second -- and saving lives.

Mary Rademacher knew she was having a problem with her heart.

"I could feel my heart beating, I noticed some things weren't quite right, I noticed some irregularity, I would feel tired; sometimes faint," described Rademacher.

Instead of an invasive heart catheterization, doctors had a new noninvasive tool at their disposal; a 256-slice CT scanner. It takes 4-dimensional high definition images in about one-third of a second, with one pass around the heart. Some older systems take up to 16 rotations.

Ambarish Gopal, MD, the medical director of Advanced Cardiovascular Imaging CT Program at Heart Hospital Baylor Plano, told Ivanhoe, "We have great quality images with much less radiation. This probably might be the single most powerful test because we are not only able to look at the plumbing system of the heart, we can look at the whole cardiac system, including the cardiac valves."

The new scanner can see calcium buildup inside the coronary, even before people have symptoms. The imaging ruled out blockage. Rademacher's arrhythmia was fixed with medicine and a minor procedure.

"It is a life saver, and it's so simple," said Rademacher.

Dr. Gopal detailed, "It does save lives because if you do find early plaque formations, calcium buildup, we are able to identify early coronary artery disease."

This can lead to lifestyle changes that can reduce coronary artery disease and save lives.

The Heart Hospital in Texas is offering the new CT coronary calcium score along with diagnosis for only $79. So far it is not reimbursed by insurance.
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