A 10-minute heart scan that can tell people if they are at risk for a heart attack, and the test requires no needles, injections or contrast dye, and patients do not have to remove their clothes, a news release said.
West Feliciana Hospital is using the heart CT scan or calcium score test, which allows doctors to look at the arteries of the heart from outside the body to check for blockages that can cause heart attacks. It also involves little radiation.
The heart has three main coronary arteries, and each has branches that supply oxygen-rich blood to certain areas of the heart. A cardiac CT scan for coronary calcium is a noninvasive way of obtaining information about the presence, location and extent of calcified plaque in the coronary arteries. When arteries are highly calcified, they become narrow and the plaque has the potential to develop into clots.
When a coronary artery becomes blocked by a clot, the heart does not get enough blood supply and a heart attack will occur.
Candidates for the test include adults 45-80 without symptoms or known heart disease but who have one or more risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, overweight or sedentary lifestyle, tobacco use or family history of heart disease, the release said.
Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death for women and men. For half of Americans, the first symptom of heart disease is a heart attack. Early identification of heart disease allows patients and their doctor to determine the best approach for getting rid of calcified plaque and lowering heart attack risk.