The HeartScan procedure is fast and simple, not requiring any injections, dyes or fasting as with some traditional cardiac screenings and only takes about 10 minutes.

MIAMI – In Ottawa County, heart disease is still the leading cause of death for all ages combined, according to a 2017 county health report from the Oklahoma State Department of Health.(1)

Heart disease can also be very expensive, with the most recent public hospital discharge data (2014) revealing total charges attributable to heart disease in Ottawa County were $10,682,778, or $49,003.6 per discharge.

Prevention and intervention are key in addressing heart disease, and now, a quick, cutting-edge technology is being offered locally to help assess heart health.

Known as HeartScan, Integris has recently begun offering the screening at its hospital in Miami which uses a special imaging system that provides a clear picture of the heart to measure calcium in the plaque that lines the inside of your arteries.

Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood. Plaque can build up over time and as it does it hardens blocking the arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart and other organs. Medically this is known as atherosclerosis. In the heart, it is classified as coronary artery disease, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

With early detection, coronary artery disease can be treated with medication and lifestyle changes reducing the risk of heart attack or advanced heart disease. (2)

HeartScan also offers the potential of timely interventions, quickly detecting certain blockages that may require immediate medical treatment.

Example: Integris Calcium Score Results Report Calcium Score (2.3)  Implication Risk of Coronary Artery Disease 0  No identifiable plaque Very low. Generally less than 5% 1-10  Minimal identifiable plaque Very unlikely, less than 10% 11-100 Definite, at least mild Atherosclerotic plaque Mild or minimal coronary narrowing likely 101-400 Definite, at least moderate Atherosclerotic plaque Moderate coronary artery disease highly likely, significant narrowing possible 401 or higher Extensive Atherosclerotic plaque High likelihood of at least one significant coronary narrowing

How it Works

According to Integris, HeartScan uses specialized X-ray technology called multi-slice computerized tomography, or CT. This advanced imaging system is able to produce a 3D image of the heart and coronary arteries, providing a precise measure of calcium deposits.

The results of the test are evaluated and used to determine a cardiac score that is usually mailed to the patient to be shared with their primary care doctor or a cardiologist.

What to Expect

The HeartScan procedure is fast and simple, not requiring any injections, dyes or fasting as with some traditional cardiac screenings and only takes about 10 minutes.

Integris outlines a standard HeartScan CT session as follows:

For the sake of image clarity, you may be asked to wear a gown and remove all jewelry and other metallic items. Once the exam begins, the examination table will move slowly into position inside the scanner’s donut-shaped opening. While you lay on the table, the scanner will use a detector rotated around your body to create a sequence of cross-sectional images called “slices”. The computer then uses these slices to reconstruct 3-dimensional images of the inside of the body. Throughout the scan, you will be asked to remain still and may be asked to hold your breath for short periods of time. A video or audio coaching system will help guide you through the exam process.

Who is HeartScan For?

HeartScan is an option for anyone who wants to know their risk of heart disease and is recommended for people who have known risks factors such as tobacco use, age (55 and older), high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and a family history of heart disease.

The screening is not effective for those who have stents placed in the heart.

What Does it Cost?

HeartScans can be purchased for $50, due at the time of service. Integris accepts cash, check and credit cards.

Insurance claims are not filed by Integris for patients who have the $50 private pay HeartScan.

For patients with certain risk factors and those whose physician orders a HeartScan, Medicare and some insurance may pay for the scan. Deductibles and co-pays will apply in these cases.

How to Get One

HeartScans do not require a physician referral. To schedule an appointment locally, call 918-540-7550.

Regionally, the screening is available at both the Miami and Grove Integris hospitals.

(1)Oklahoma State Department of Health State of County Health Report, Ottawa County, Summer 2017; https://www.ok.gov/health2/documents/Ottawa%202017.pdf.

(2)Atherosclerosis, also known as Hardening of arteries, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/atherosclerosis.

Dorothy Ballard is the managing news editor of the Miami News-Record. Contact her at dballard@miaminewsrecord.com and follow her on Twitter @dm_ballard.