HeartSaver CT is designed to uncover early-stage heart disease. The procedure is non-invasive―no needles, no dyes, no injections, and no exercise. You don’t even need to change your clothes.
How’s your heart? Find out with a HeartSaver CT and HeartSaver Labwork.
Nothing Beats a Healthy Heart
Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in this country. In its earliest and most treatable stages, heart disease rarely reveals itself through symptoms. For many people, a heart attack is the first clue of a heart problem.
Don’t wait for chest pain and other symptoms to warn you of trouble. Take action now to protect your heart.
What Is a HeartSaver CT?
A HeartSaver CT is a screening for heart disease that uses a special X-ray called computed tomography (CT) to look for hardened plaque in coronary arteries (the vessels that take oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle). Plaque is a sticky substance that builds up on the inside of arteries and over time, calcifies or hardens. Calcified plaque may slow down or even stop the flow of blood to the heart muscle.
HeartSaver CT takes a series of pictures to measure how much calcified plaque is in your coronary arteries. A board-certified radiologist assesses the results and gives you a “calcium score.” A score above zero may indicate hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis. A high calcium score has been associated with a higher chance of a future heart attack.
If your HeartSaver CT score is more than zero, you may be able to slow plaque build-up with diet, exercise, medication and, if necessary, a special procedure to open severely blocked arteries.
What Happens During a HeartSaver CT?
You lie down on a padded CT table. A licensed CT technologist attaches EKG leads (electrodes) to synchronize the scanner with the rhythm of your heartbeat. The CT table moves slowly through the open scanner. During the first few seconds the scanner is taking pictures, the CT technologist asks you to hold your breath. From start to finish this screening takes about seven minutes.
Who Should Get a HeartSaver CT?
If you are a man over age 40 or a woman over age 45, and have one or more of the following risk factors, a HeartSaver CT may be right for you:
- Family history of heart disease
- Smoking history
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol levels
- Being overweight
- Physical inactivity
Note: Exposure to radiation from CT exams must be balanced against the risk of heart disease. If you are under the care of a physician for a heart-related illness or have a history of heart disease, this screening may not be appropriate for you.
What Is HeartSaver LabWork?
Different substances found in blood are clues to what is happening inside your body. HeartSaver LabWork is a group of blood tests that assesses major risk factors for heart disease, including levels of cholesterol (LDL and HDL), triglycerides, C-reactive protein, and fasting blood glucose. You may choose to have these tests separately without a HeartSaver CT. HeartSaver LabWork, together with a HeartSaver CT, provides a more complete picture of your heart health status.
Know Your Numbers
Cholesterol is a waxy, soft, fat-like substance that is an important part of every cell in our body. The liver produces cholesterol, but we also obtain it from foods with saturated fat such as red meat and dairy products. Cholesterol that is not used or expelled from the body contributes to the build-up of plaque in the arteries. This process, called hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis, begins in childhood, and continues throughout life. High cholesterol levels are major risk factors for heart attack and/or stroke.
If you are 20 years or older, it is recommended that every five years you have a group of blood tests, collectively called a fasting lipoprotein profile. Information about total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and triglycerides are measured in milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL) and are classified by levels.
Total cholesterol levels:
- Optimal: Less than 200 mg/dL
- Borderline high: 200 – 239 mg/dL
- High: 200 mg/dL and above
High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL or “Good Cholesterol”) circulates in the blood stream. HDL helps get extra, un-used cholesterol out of the body by taking it to the liver for excretion. Since HDL works to reduce your total cholesterol level, it is good for this to be a high number.
HDL cholesterol levels:
- Optimal: 60 mg/dL and above
- Too low for women: Less than 50 mg/dL
- Too low for men: Less than 40 mg/dL
Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL or “Bad Cholesterol”) circulates in the blood stream and it can slowly build up in the inner walls of your arteries. Together with other substances, it can form plaque, a thick, hard deposit that can narrow the arteries and make them less flexible. The lower your LDL cholesterol level, the lower your risk is for heart attack and/or stroke.
LDL cholesterol levels:
- Optimal: Less than 100 mg/dL
- Near or above optimal: 100 – 129 mg/dL
- Borderline high: 130 – 159 mg/dL
- High: 160 – 189 mg/dL
- Very high: 190 mg/dL and above
Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in the body and are a major source of energy. Normal levels vary by age and if you are a man or woman. However, research shows many people with heart disease and/or diabetes have high triglyceride levels, too. A high triglyceride level, with a low HDL and high LDL, appears to speed up hardening of the arteries and the chance of having a heart attack or stroke.
- Optimal: Less than 150 mg/dL
- Borderline high: 150 – 199 mg/dL
- High: 200 – 499 mg/dL
- Very high: 500 mg/dL and above
C-reactive protein is a substance found in blood. It is a sign of inflammation, which is the body’s normal response to fever, infections, and injuries. There is a connection between inflammation and heart disease. A high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (HS-CRP) level may help to determine your risk for heart disease.
C-reactive protein levels:
- Low Risk: Less than 1.0 mg/L
- Medium Risk: 1.0 – 2.9 mg/L
- High Risk: Greater than 3.0 mg/L
Fasting blood glucose measures blood glucose (sugar) after you have not eaten for at least 8 hours. It is often one of the first tests done to check for diabetes, which is a major risk factor for heart disease. It is normal for blood glucose levels to increase slightly after eating, but it should return to normal levels between meals. It is not normal for blood sugar levels to stay high for long periods of time. Extended periods of high glucose levels may damage your eyes, kidneys, and nerves.
Fasting blood glucose levels:
- Normal: 70 mg/dL to 99 mg/dL
- Prediabetes: 100 mg/dL to126 mg/dL
- Diabetes: above 126 mg/dL
How to Make an Appointment
Call (937) 734-8200 to schedule an appointment for a HeartSaver CT, HeartSaver LabWork, or both. After answering questions about your heart disease risk factors, your information is reviewed by a cardiologist. If appropriate, your screening(s) will be authorized and all necessary paperwork sent to the location of your choice:
- Good Samaritan Hospital
- Good Samaritan North Health Center
- Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Imaging — Needmore Road
- HeartSaver CT - $99.00
- HeartSaver LabWork - $45.00
- Both tests - $144.00
Note: Insurance does not cover these procedures.