New 3-D CT Scan

Good news for anyone who has a family history of heart disease. Mother Frances Hospital now has a new 3-D heart scanning technology, which can detect blocked arteries that often lead to heart attacks.

Dr. Bob Sanchez, Radiologist with Mother Frances Hospital and Tyler Radiology Associates says, "Patients come in and we will check their heart rate in the holding area and if it's too high over seventy we give them a medication to drop their heart rate and get it below sixty-five. Once the intravenous in your arm and your heart rate is below sixty five, you're ready for the heart scan.

The first scan is done to check for calcium in your arteries. Then an x-ray dye is injected in the intravenous and the second scan begins. Sanchez says, "It will take thousands of picture in fifteen seconds. Patients have to hold your breathe for fifteen seconds and during that time all the scans are taken." The entire scan takes about five minutes.

Once the scan is done, doctor's look at the images. Sanchez says, "The images are then taken and put onto the 3-D workstation and then we can recreate a 3-D and 2-D model to show the blood vessels. We can see if there is any plaque, calcification or a soft plaque which is would be a dark area. The darker area is plaque that would be at risk for rupturing and causing a heart attack."

Doctors recommend the 3-D heart scan for people with a family history of heart disease, hypertension and diabetes. Sanchez says, "You can catch this early enough and get something done, medication can be given or other type of treatment if you need it." A painless scan that may save your life.

Mother Frances officials say the technology is so new that it is not yet covered by all insurance companies. The cost without insurance is more than three thousand dollars. Other hospitals in East Texas say they will be getting the scanner in the next few months.

Karolyn Davis, reporting.