Getting a close up look at a patient's heart is now a matter of sliding into place.
Cotton-O'Neil cardiologist Dr. Francis Weyrens says, for many years, researchers have worked to develop a way to view the coronary arteries in a non-invasive way. The new 64-slice CT scanner, he says, gives them a way to do that on a reasonably consistent basis. He says it's not necessarily about seeing the heart in a new way, but in a better way and achieving an accurate diagnosis more quickly and more safely.
Before, doctors got images using cardiac catheterization. It's a more invasive procedure that carries a slight risk of damaging blood vessels, and involves two to four hours recovery time. The CT scan is over in minutes and patients can leave right away, leaving doctors with three-dimensional images that are amazing.
Dr. Weyrens says the images have a great level of detail, not just in viewing the main branch of the artery, but the secondary and tertiary branches as well. He says that gives doctors a lot of confidence in the accuracy of what they're imaging.
Accurate images mean better diagnoses of blockages and heart function. Dr. Weyrens says the technology has only been available in the U.S. for about six months, but as it grows, it could play a big role in taking quick action to protect your heart health.
Stormont-Vail has the only 64-slice scanner in our area right now. You can learn more about the machine at the company's web site, www.64slice.com.