Ask the expert: Would a heart check or scan be beneficial for me?
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Ask the expert: Would a heart check or scan be beneficial for me?

by -

Dr. Wagdy
Heart disease remains the number one killer of men and women. Knowing your risk for a heart attack before you show any signs or symptoms may save your life.

While you may have seen advertisements from time-to-time for traveling companies offering various heart screenings, UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Hospital offers a couple of options to anyone concerned with their cardiac health. The Heart Scan, which identifies calcified plaque in the coronary arteries and Heart Check, which is a series of five tests that assesses heart, vascular and stroke health. 

“While there are no guidelines on when a heart check or heart scan is beneficial, it may uncover asymptomatic atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease,” said Hisham Wagdy, MD, UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Cardiology. “If heart issues are uncovered through these tests these patients will be treated more aggressively – usually by adding aspirin and treating high cholesterol.”

While there are specific guidelines for some heart conditions some individuals with a family history of heart attacks or stroke may wish to uncover heart issues before they occur.

“Just because it’s not in the national guidelines to have one of these tests doesn’t mean there isn’t a potential benefit to the patient,” said Dr. Wagdy. “These tests are available for patients willing to pay to potentially discover undiagnosed heart disease. Patients come to my office after receiving a heart scan as a gift from a spouse after the scan detected a high calcium score, which allows us to treat the individual preventively. Often these tests provide a peace of mind to individuals one way or another.

Perhaps the test results didn’t find any cause for concern. Or maybe they did uncover a heart issue and now this person can work with their doctor to proactively treat their cardiovascular issue and thereby lower the chance of experiencing a heart event.”

Learn more about the preventative heart tests and scans available at bit.ly/STLHeartAwareness.