Friday, March 6, 2009

Cardiac Smartscore-- have you had one done??

How often have you heard: "if we had caught this sooner, the outcome may have been different". Preventive imaging is a proactive approach to better health.

This information was copied from the website

Coronary arteries carry blood to the heart. When you're young, these arteries are smooth and blood flows freely. But, as years pass, the arteries become lined with deposits of cholesterol and other organic materials that accumulate as plaque - a condition known as arteriosclerosis.
This plaque is deadly. It damages the cells of the coronary arteries, and its buildup can restrict blood flow to the heart. But what makes plaque such a killer is its tendency to rupture and break loose from the lining of the arteries. When this happens, a clot can form that will block the supply of blood to the heart, resulting in a heart attack.
Heart attacks continue to be the number one killer in the United States.

Every 20 seconds someone has a heart attack, and every minute someone dies from one.

Remarkably, about one third of the people who arrive at an emergency room with a heart attack have has NO chest pain or similar warning. It just happened.
Now there’s an early detection test at "Elkhart general" ( I went to Ocean Springs Hospital) called Cardiac SmartScore that an help predict the likelihood of having a heart attack by measuring the buildup of plaque in the coronary arteries, the most likely cause of a heart attack.

Not only can Cardiac SmartScore identify a potentially deadly heart condition, it can be a life-saving warning signal for people who may be otherwise healthy but are in the very early state of plaque buildup. When the condition is caught early enough, modest adjustments in diet and lifestyle often can be enough to effectively deal with the problem.

The Advantage of the Unique SmartScore Test
There are many types of heart tests. EKG. Stress echocardiogram. Intravascular ultrasound. Each of these tests can play an important role in evaluating your heart's health. But none of these tests can accurately detect the silent presence of deadly plaque. Even angiography that looks for constriction in the vessels may not reveal the presence of plaque. That's because as plaque accumulates, the arteries actually expand to compensate for the buildup, resulting in little change to the opening of the vessel. Although the angiograph may look fine, a heart attack could happen at any time.
Of all heart tests, Cardiac SmartScore is the most accurate non-invasive method of determining the presence of deadly plaque.

Test Procedure
Cardiac SmartScore (also called coronary artery calcium scoring) is a type of CT scan that detects areas of hardening (calcification or plaque) in the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart. Normally, the coronary arteries do not contain plaque. Plaque deposits in the coronary arteries indicate the presence of coronary artery disease (CAD). Cardiac calcium scoring is used to diagnose CAD in an early stage and to determine its severity.

During the Cardiac SmartScore, you simply lie on a table, fully clothed and hold your breath for a few seconds while the CT images are taken. These images are analyzed by a computer to produce a detailed picture of a “slice” of the heart. Each x-ray pulse lasts only a fraction of a second, and it takes only a few seconds for the machine to record each slice. A CT scan provides clearer pictures of internal organs than regular x-rays. Information from a CT scan can be saved and stored on a computer for further study. Photographs of selected views can also be made.

Who Should Have a Cardiac SmartScore Exam?
A Cardiac SmartScore exam can be a life-saver for men over 35 and women over 45 who are at higher than normal risk of heart attack.

Risk factors include:
A family history of heart disease or stroke .
High cholesterol levels
High blood pressure
High stress
Sedentary lifestyle

Test Results
Copied from
"Smart Score" gives you a score indicative of the amount of calcium in the main arteries feeding your heart, from zero to more than 1,000, in each artery.
Regardless of your score, always discuss your test results with your doctor.

If your score is 0: Your probability of having significant coronary artery disease is minimal. Share the results with your physician and discuss any lifestyle modification for continued good health.
If your score is positive but less than 100: Cardiac scoring by "Smart Score" has detected calcified plaque in the arteries of your heart which are unlikely to be causing a narrowing at this time. Along with your physician, you should discuss cardiac risk factors and initiate appropriate preventive measures.
If your score is between 101 and 400: Cardiac scoring by "Smart Score" has detected considerable amount of calcified plaques in the arteries of your heart. While this is not a medical emergency, there is an increased risk of heart attack. Your physician will determine what additional tests may be best. Your doctor will place you on a treatment regimen to modify your risk factors to reduce the risk of a heart attack.
If your score is greater than 400: Cardiac scoring by "Smart Score" has detected extensive calcified plaque in your coronary arteries which may have critical narrowing. You are at increased risk of heart attack. Based on your physician's recommendations you should begin treatment immediately to reduce your risk of heart attack.

Okay-- Let me give you my 25 cent tour -- My test took about 30-40 minutes from the time I checked in until I was walking out the door to go to work. I had to pay cash because my insurance feels this is "experimental" but the test was $150 which I thought was a steal of a deal. Kandis said that it was $150 for "peace of mind"-- anyway, I got my test score results today and I scored (drum roll please) a ZERO!!!!!! WOOO- HOOO!!!!!!!

Go and check out these websites and ask your doctors about this test-- now remember that it doesn't mean that I will never have a heart attack but I know that I am less likely to have one from plaque buildup right now-- How often do they recommend this test? Who knows but I will have it when the doc tells me to? I want to be around for a long, long time!! Kandis, keep waiting on the kitchen table-- it will be a while!

1 comment:

Gina said...

Wow, that is very cool! Congrats on the healthy heart! Its all that Wii fit lately right? I had a CT done of the pelvis or abdomen when I had those ovarian cysts rupture and it was pretty cool.( the scan not the cysts!) Non invasive and not to scary and pretty quick. (except I was in horrible pain-so it seemed to take forever!)

Thanks for all the info. That was great!