LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - We're focusing on heart health during the month of February, bringing you the newest information on cutting edge technology here in Southwest Louisiana. In this Healthcast, we take you on an unprecedented tour of the heart and tell you how one woman is alive today thanks to this amazing imaging.
38-year-old Doris Anderson is a mother of four who has always taken pride in her health. "I always exercised," says Doris, "the girls and I would always walk, I'd go to a fitness center to exercise. Nothing was wrong, never noticed anything."
But last fall while getting a midday workout in, Doris collapsed. "I fainted, had a seizure and then they took me to the ER," says Doris, "they didn't find anything and then I went to the doctor to get a stress test done."
While undergoing the stress test, Doris collapsed again. Cardiovascular specialist, Dr. Michael Turner then ordered a series of tests for Doris to find out what was triggering this potentially fatal condition.
A cardiac CT scan finally showed the root of Doris's health scare. Dr. Turner says, "It pinches this artery off and the blood flow to the front wall of the heart is cut off."
Doris had an abnormal left coronary artery - something that hadn't been detected until the cardiac CT scan was utilized. "It allows us to see the heart in ways that we've never seen it before," says Dr. Turner, "it can see motion, we can see tumors, we can see abnormalities of the arteries."
Cardiac CT scans will take images of the chest that can be seen 180 degrees in every direction around the heart. Doctors can then pick out the specific problem that might not have been seen with two-dimensional grayscale images. "We'll see plaque in arteries 10, 15 even 20 years before a person has trouble or before it shows up on a stress test," says Dr. Turner.
With a specific diagnosis thanks to these images, Doris was able to have her heart problem corrected through surgery last November. "It's very scary to realize I'm 38 and I'm just now realizing this," says Doris, "I could've passed out anywhere - with my girls, I'm so thankful that I found it."
Dr. Turner says this new modality in imaging is encouraging to the future of heart health and the prevention of sudden cardiac death. "It's the most amazing thing I've seen in my 33 years of practicing medicine," says Dr. Turner.
*Cardiac CT is not a screening test for everyone. It's best for people who have had an abnormal echo or stress test or might be suspected of having heart disease.