Oct. 6, 2004 ST. LOUIS - A simple test using a CT scanner can give women and men an earlier warning about potential heart problems, says a cardiologist at Saint Louis University, who expects to see a spike in demand for such tests following former president Bill Clinton's recent heart problems. A similar response was observed after the sudden unexpected death of Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile in 2003 from serious heart blood vessel blockages.
"Many people with heart disease have few visible symptoms," said D. Douglas Miller, M.D., a SLUCare cardiologist and chair of internal medicine at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. "This is one of the reasons why heart disease is the number one killer for both men and women in America.
"When John Ritter died of vascular problems, we saw an increase in the number of patients - women and men - interested in anything they could do to help detect these problems as early as possible." Saint Louis University and SLUCare offer a non-invasive test that could save your life or the life of someone you love, Miller said.
"SLUScan for Your Heart" uses a fast computed tomography (CT) scanner to look at the heart's arteries for calcium build-up," he said. "It's a way to check for heart disease before there are symptoms."
This technology measures and "scores" the amount of calcium deposited in the coronary arteries and helps determine the risk for heart disease. This test is safe, quick and painless. It takes only 30 minutes and uses no needles, dyes or shots. Exercise is not required, and clothing does not have to be removed.
The scans are read by SLUCare board-certified radiologists and cardiologists.
It is estimated that 500,000 Americans will die this year from a sudden heart attack. For many, the first symptom of heart disease is a sudden, sometimes fatal, heart attack.
Prime candidates for a SLUScan For Your Heart are men age 40-plus and women age 50-plus with one or more risk factors for heart disease, such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or a history of cardiac disease in the family.
For more information about getting a SLUScan For Your Heart, call (314) 977-9600.
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