Hello everyone, may name is Anne. I had my first heart scan 14 years ago following the sudden death of my brother at just 51 years of age. I’ve since had scans done on a regular basis. In my case, my calcium score increased over time. Each time, my doctor would adjust my medications, diet, and exercise programs until we found a treatment program that worked for me, not the national statistics. I was elated when my most recent heart scan showed no further progression of coronary plaque burden.
But my story continues. In August, 2006, my very healthy, fit, slender, former marathon-runner husband, Tom, died of a sudden heart attack. He walked his usual 6 daily miles that day. He had no symptoms. He had always been the picture of health, he never smoked. I am still absorbing the shock and terrible loss.
We later learned that his arteries were badly blocked, even though his cholesterol and blood pressure had always been perfectly normal. He had no risk factors. How could this happen to him? He had been healthy and an athlete his entire life!
If Tom had just had an EBT heart scan, those blockages would have been evident and I believe his life would have been saved. But, there was “no reason” for him to have a scan. He was so “healthy”. Getting a heart scan for Tom didn’t have any sense of urgency.
Since Tom’s death, I have made it my personal mission to talk to people about heart scans when I talk about him. I am amazed at how little people know about heart scans. This is a simple, non-invasive test that can be performed over a lunch hour. I think it is very short-sighted on the part of insurance companies that, in most cases, they do not cover this test. It is such a small price to pay, less than $500, for a diagnosis that saves lives. I would have gladly paid much, much more.
We understand the value of mammograms and colonoscopies as screening tools to maintain good health. Regular heart scans, for everyone, must also be added to that list, regardless of the cost.