Heart Saver CT Scan

During my recent holiday vacation, I took the opportunity to visit the Tucson Heart Hospital and get a Heart Saver CT Scan. First, I am not currently having any issues or symptoms of heart problems, but given a recent rash of friends, co-workers and relatives suffering heart attacks and/or issues, and given my family history of heart problems, I try to be pro-active in watching my heart health.

The Heart Saver CT Scan takes images of your heart and supplying arteries to look for calcium. These calcium deposits are strong indicators of arterial blockage, often the cause of many heart attacks. The procedure is easy and painless. You simple lay on a table for about 5 minutes while the CT scan occurs. The procedure is completely non-invasive and there are no needles, dye or injections. The scan occurs while fully clothed. The test is supposed to be 98% accurate.

The doctors then score you images for calcium buildup in your arteries and heart on a scale from 0 to 1500. The higher the number, the more blockage and the more urgent need for follow up care. Given my family history (both my father and grand-father died of heart attacks relatively young), I was a bit curious (and anxious) as to how I would score. About 8 years ago, in the same vein of pro-activeness, I underwent a full cardio exam including a stress test and showed no issues.

About 1 week after the test, I received the results via mail with a copy being sent to my primary care physician. My score was :thumbs_up: 3.5 :thumbs_up: I was very pleasantly surprised by the results. The engineer in me says it doesnt get much better than 3.5 on a scale of 0 – 1500. I am still going to schedule a session with my primary care doctor to go over the results and get his put on the results.

Some day not too far in the future, I still want to repeat the full cardio exam just to stay on top of it. With insurance being what it is today, that may not be possible without considerable expense. My exam 8 years ago was covered by insurance without any question. Today, I suspect, that will not be the case. The Heart Saver CT Scan was not covered by insurance, but the cost was only $155 – well worth it.

I am sure that a similar type preventative scan is available in most cities. I would highly recommend that folks take the time to do this.

Comments

  1. Brett Pechuls says:

    I also had an echo cardiogram recently. Like Steve’s procedure it was a painless and the results were very good. I am suprised, because 30 minutes before I backed into a telephone pole and did $1500 damage to my beloved PT Cruiser. All siad and done the tech that did the procedure said I might live to 100. Poor Anne. 34 more years putting up with me.

  2. 😆 😆 dont tell her…

    Mr Papa

  3. Steve, that is great news. I didn’t realize it was so cheap. Sounds like a good investment for a status check and potential pre-emptive maintenance.

  4. Ray Coates says:

    Where can I find a list of hospitals that have the Heart Saver CT? I live in Longview, Texas, which is about an hour west of Shreveport, LA and two hours east of Dallas and four hours north of Houston. It would be nice if there was a list of hospitals on a web site somewhere so we don’t have to go to all of the individual hosiptals that pop up on a Google search.

  5. Ray,

    Sorry, I dont know. The name Heart Saver CT might be a branded name used by a few hospitals (Tucson Heart Hospital and Austin Heart Hospital for example).

    You might need to search for a more generic term. The test is really a test to measure amount of calcium deposits (with images) in your heart. The results are your heart calcium score.

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  1. […] December, I had a Heart Save CT Scan done to check the amount of plaque in my heart. The results came back very positive, with a very […]

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