Heart disease is the number one leading cause of death in both men and women. We know most of the obvious risk factors-- like smoking and poor diet. One of the silent risk factors is calcium build up in the arteries. Every year 150 thousand Americans with absolutely no symptoms of heart disease drop dead from heart attack. A build up of calcium in the main heart arteries can be one of those silent risk factors. A new screening device called Cardiac Calcium Scoring can help determine your risk. The equipment is expensive-- it's the latest technology-- and Beaufort Memorial Hospital has it.
Weezie Gibson is a good candidate for Cardiac Calcium Scoring-- the latest technology that calculates a person's risk of heart attack by searching for any calcium build up in the heart arteries. "I have a family history of heart problems but no symptoms, I thought it would be a good idea to check and see how I'm doing, " says Gibson. David Fuller a Radiology Technologist explains the procedure. "It's screening we do on cardiac patients, basically connect them to a heart monitor, send them through the CT and take images of their heart." Using this new fast cat scan doctors will be able to calculate any risk to Weezie's heart from calcium. It takes just about ten minutes to hook the patient up to a heart monitor and then send them through the revolving cat scan.
"It takes images of heart in freeze frame fashion, then special soft ware analyses that and determines where in the coronary vessels there is calcium deposit," explains Dr. William Jackson an Interventional Radiologist.
Thanks to an anonymous donation-- at a cost of about a million and a half dollars-- Beaufort Memorial is the first hospital in this area to use the new equipment. "Any technology that you have the more bells and whistles the more expensive, " says Dr. Jackson. Bells and whistles doctors at Beaufort Memorial hope will help improve the health of area residents. To undergo the Fast CT for vascular calcium you do have to be referred by a physician.