Wesley Healthcare January 21, 2015

WICHITA – It’s a simple test that takes less than 30 minutes. But it could save your life.

Galichia Heart Hospital, a campus of Wesley Medical Center, is now offering coronary calcium scans to help identify a person’s risk of heart disease at an early stage, when it is more easily treated.

“Coronary calcium scans can help determine your risk of having a heart attack or other problems before you have any obvious symptoms of heart disease,” said Steve Edgar, Galichia’s president and CEO. “Early detection is key in avoiding potential, extensive and many times irreversible heart damage.”

These convenient, non-invasive scans identify the location and extent of calcified plaque in the heart’s arteries. The screening is recommended for men ages 40 to 65 and women ages 45 to 70 with one or more of the following risk factors: diabetes, being a former or current smoker, being overweight, possessing family history of heart disease or having elevated cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

“Unfortunately, regular exercise and careful diets don’t always allow you to predict your level of risk in developing heart disease,” said Dr. James Smith, a board-certified vascular and internal medicine physician on the Galichia medical staff. “An elevated coronary artery calcium score is the most predictive indicator we have for the presence of coronary artery disease.”

The cost of the screening is $99. As the scan is considered a screening and not a diagnostic test, it is not covered by most insurance plans and does not require dye.

The procedure is done through a simple, non-invasive CT scan. Through this imaging test, doctors are able to determine how much calcium is present in the arteries and where the deposits are located. A cardiac calcium score is determined by a certified cardiac radiologist at Wichita Radiological Group, and that score – along with any other findings – is given to the patient to share with his or her primary care physician and discuss next steps.

In addition to helping to determine one’s heart disease risk level, there is evidence that people whose calcium scores show a risk of heart disease are more motivated to make lifestyle changes such as losing weight, quitting smoking and adding exercise to their routine daily lives.

“The screening is a powerful motivational tool that can dramatically improve a patient’s willingness to eat healthy, exercise and stop smoking,” Dr. Smith said.

“In the United States, someone experiences a heart attack every 29 seconds, and of those more than half of them have no symptoms. It’s a priceless screening if you or a family member falls into the risk category for developing heart disease.”

To schedule a coronary calcium scan, please call 316.962.7900. And to learn more about this and other screenings offered by Galichia and Wesley, please visit wesleymc.com.

Wesley Medical Center is the region’s leading acute care hospital network providing a full range of diagnostic and treatment services for patients throughout Kansas and northern Oklahoma since 1912. As a leader in Overall Recommended Care in national rankings, Wesley treats more than 24,000 patients annually and delivers more than 6,000 babies – more than any hospital in a 13-state region. Wesley provides the most extensive emergency network in Wichita, with Wesley ER, Wesley West ER and Galichia ER. Wesley owns and operates Galichia Heart Hospital, WESLEYCare Clinics and the Pediatric Center of Kansas. To learn more about Wesley Medical Center, please visit wesleymc.com.