Calcium Scoring Screening Gives Patient Peace of Mind
Paula Broeker, RN, had been putting off having a simple test to evaluate her risk of developing heart disease for over a year. It’s not that she wasn’t concerned. Paula’s mom had experienced her first heart attack while pregnant with Paula and her second when Paula was 9 years old. When Paula was 19, her mom died from a third heart attack. And Paula’s brother had a quadruple bypass four years ago. Paula definitely had a strong family history of heart disease.
So why didn’t she have that simple test? Because Calcium Scoring Screening wasn’t covered by her health insurance, and was available at a reasonable cost only in Sioux Falls, SD, or Denver, Colo. Even though she knew she should, it just wasn’t convenient for Paula to make the trip.
In February 2019, the Campbell County Health began offering Calcium Scoring Screening for only $200 in Gillette, Wyoming.
The test uses a quick, painless CT scan to measure the amount and location of calcification in the arteries of your heart. Calcification happens when there are significant deposits of fat, called plaque, in the arteries. The more plaque, the higher the risk for heart disease. Calcium Scoring screening is designed for those people who don’t have any symptoms of heart disease, but may still be at risk. If there is a history of heart disease in your family, you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or you are a current former smoker, you are at risk for heart disease.
The test results can help you and your doctor target any treatment or lifestyle changes before heart disease gets worse, like dietary changes, quitting smoking, exercise or starting on medication. The test is done by the Campbell County Memorial Hospital Radiology department, and is available by appointment Monday-Friday. The referring physician receives the test results so follow-up can be scheduled if needed.
“I had no idea what the findings would be,” said Paula. “ I knew from my nursing background that ignorance is not bliss, so I was glad I finally did it.”
“It gave me the peace of mind I was looking for,” said Paula.
Talk to your doctor to see if Calcium Scoring screening may be right for you. Learn more at www.cchwyo.org/calct.
By Karen Clarke for CCH.