Protect your heart with a quick scanORMC, MCH offer heart health checkups

February is National Heart Month and to help get people’s attention about the risks of heart disease, both Odessa Regional Medical Center and the Medical Center Hospital are encouraging people to get a heart view scan.
ORMC will be offering a heart view scan for a flat rate of $75 throughout this month while Medical Center Hospital usually offers the same rate year-round.
A heart view scan is a non-invasive way to detect health problems before symptoms occur. The scan usually takes about 10 minutes and is performed on a 64-slice CT scanner.
“Usually each year, this is easier for us to put this at the top of minds for people since it is National Heart Month,” Madison Tate, ORMC director of marketing and community relations, said. “People can get a quick look at their heart and make sure that everything is working well and find out if there’s any need for a follow up.”
The tests do not require a physician’s order and no insurance will be filed.
“The February promotion allows us to give people who don’t have insurance or typically not have this covered, a flat rate of $75. It’s not very common that you can get a flat rate for any kind of medical service so this is something that we like to push to encourage people and to take advantage of it.”
Tate says ORMC usually holds this promotion each year and is hopeful that more people can become aware of it and take advantage of it.
“Because it’s a little more cost effective, we’re hoping more people will jump on that and do something that they may not have done throughout the year,” Tate said.
According to ORMC Chief Medical Officer Rohith Saravanan, the most important thing is to help people realize how important heart health is.
“One of the things we try to help people recognize is the importance of taking care of their heart and give them a little encouragement to take care of their heart,” Saravanan said. “Nothing special about February other than the fact we can use it to bring heart to the top of minds so people can think about checking on their heart.”
Saravanan said the process is basically a quick CT-scan.
“We have a scanner that means it takes multiple slices through the tissue and help you see it really well. We put them through a cat scan of their heart and it takes 10 minutes to do.”
This specific test looks for calcium deposits within the walls of the blood vessels that supply the heart muscle.
“And when you see the calcium deposits, you’re talking about a hardened plaque,” Saravanan said. “A hardened plaque is one that can crack and that’s what usually causes an acute heart attack, one that requires immediate attention or otherwise it can cause severe damage to the heart or even death.”
With the help of the multi-slice technology, Saravanan says they can get a pretty clear image of the beating heart and reconstruct it with a three-dimensional picture and look at all the other blood vessels that supply the heart and see which part has a high calcium score.
“If you have a high calcium score, you have to follow it up with another appointment,” Saravanan said. “There are more tests that would come but the early detection can prevent you from getting worse and finding out you have a heart disease when you have a heart attack. That’s the worse time to find out. To prevent that is why we do these heart view scans.”
Dr. Fernando Boccalandro of MCH also talked about the importance of getting a heart scan done as soon as possible.
“As you know, heart disease still affects everyone and is the first cause of death in the U.S. and around the world,” Boccalandro said. “A heart scan can allow to detect a coronary disease early and classify a patient as a high-risk or a low-risk and we can estimate what measures we need to take to prevent or mitigate this problem if you have it.”
One of the ways people can also do to keep their hearts healthy is by obtaining a healthy diet and exercising.
“Heart health is in our hands,” Boccalandro said. “We can significantly modify the risks over time if we lead a heart-healthy diet. If we exercise and keep our weight under control then it can significantly decrease your risk over time. a lot of things that people need to remember is that they have the health in their hands. If they do the right measures, the risk is low.”
For more information or to schedule an appointment at ORMC, call 432-582-8500.
To book an appointment at MCH, call 432-640-2255.