BY MELANIE BUCK –
“We in the radiology department at Mena Regional are excited to once again offer our Coronary Calcium scan at a reduced rate for couples in the month of February. It is always rewarding when we can use current technology to impact our patients’ lives in a positive way,” said Jonathan Welsh, M.D., Diagnostic Radiology, Mena Regional Health System. The Couples Heart Saver CT Scan will be offered for $100 per couple throughout the month of February and $56.50 per individual.
Dr. Welsh explained that heart attacks happen when there is a buildup of plaque in the arteries which feed the heart. If the plaque gets thick enough, it can “clog” the artery and prevent adequate blood flow to the heart muscle. Very often this plaque is calcified, and studies have shown that the amount of calcium present in plaque correlates with the risk of heart attack.
This is where the technology comes in. The new CT scanner at Mena Regional acquires images very quickly; so quickly that we can take pictures of a beating heart. Any calcium in the coronary arteries shows up well and they can measure the amount to determine if you are at risk for a heart attack. “As a radiologist, I personally review all the images and we make a report out to your doctor. We will also give you a copy of your results before you leave,” explained Dr. Welsh.
He added, “I really like this test for several reasons. It is very quick, taking only about 10 minutes. It is non-invasive, so there are no needles, catheters, injections, or dye. And most importantly, this test can discover significant coronary artery disease while it is still “silent”, before symptoms like chest pain ever show up. This test can literally save lives, and we have seen that here.” A good report can also help you rest easier knowing that you are in the “low risk” group.
Dr. Welsh recommends this test to men over 40 and women over 45 who have one or more risk factors for coronary artery disease. Risk factors include family history of heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, overweight, and diabetes. If you are interested, call your doctor or the radiology department at our hospital to find out how you can schedule an appointment.