The principle that the quicker a disease can be diagnosed, the easier it is to treat is axiomatic in medicine. Heart disease is a prime example. Most people only notice that they have heart disease when they start feeling chest pains or even have a full-blown heart attack. Then they can look forward to extensive treatments and likely surgical procedures up to and including a transplant to fix their cardiovascular system.
According to a story on WNDU a hospital in Plano, Texas has acquired a new CT scanner that will become a powerful tool in diagnosing a common form of cardiovascular disease even before symptoms present themselves. The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano CT scanner takes one pass in a fraction of a second and produces 4D images of the heart. The images provide detailed pictures of the plumbing inside a heart as never before.
The procedure detects the beginning of a calcium buildup inside the heart valves that, if left unchecked, can lead to a narrowing of the valves that causes reduction in blood-flow through the heart. The CT scan provides a noninvasive alternative to a heart catheterization that takes longer and requires a period of recovery.
In the case of one patient, the CT scan detected a calcium deposit that was causing a mild arrhythmia. The condition was fixed with some medication and a minor procedure, saving the patient from a potentially more severe illness and perhaps her life.
The hospital is offering the procedure, which is not yet covered by insurance, for $79.
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