Senior Circle Members Learn About 20-Second Heart Test

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Learning the level of risk for heart attacks is going to become a lot quicker at Payson Regional Medical Center.

The PRMC Imaging Center is preparing to introduce a new Computed Tomography (CT) Scan machine into its diagnostic arsenal in the near future.

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Larry Rosberg

Larry Rosberg, director of the PRMC Imaging Center, spoke at the Senior Circle earlier this week, telling participants in the monthly Dessert with the Director program about the new equipment. The Senior Circle provides this event and numerous other health and wellness opportunities for its members.

Rosberg said the hospital has the equipment in place and now he and his staff are training on it. He said he hopes to make it available to patients in the near future.

The new equipment provides a non-invasive way to look at the coronary arteries of the heart to see if there is calcium (plaque) buildup.

To get the images, a patient has three wires (leads) taped to their chest around the heart -- there are no needles, no dye, no fasting (except for caffeine) -- and then he or she is slid into the scanner, feet first and the images are taken in a matter of only 20 seconds. The patient is slid out, detached from the wires, he or she gets dressed and goes home. Rosberg and his technicians then study the images.

"The calcium buildup will show as bright white on the films," Rosberg said.

The imaging is so precise the technicians can detect even less than 50 percent buildup. He explained the patient's percentage of buildup is "scored" to a standard developed from a study of 5,000 cases.

Since it is a screening method, Rosberg said, if a patient's calcium buildup is above what the standard deems as safe, additional cardio tests are generally indicated before determining the actual level of risk and what treatment is needed.

Rosberg said Medicare covers the test. He recommended that anyone with questions about the test or other diagnostic imaging procedures visit the Web site radiologyinfo.org/ as a good Internet site for information. The site is easy to navigate and the language is straightforward.

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