by David Udis, M.D., Radiology, Chestnut Hill Hospital
Each week during the Pastorius Park Concert series, a doctor from Chestnut Hill Hospital will be present to discuss health concerns with the public. Dr. David Urdis will be at the park for the Hezekiah Jones concert on Wednesday, June 18.
Medical imaging studies produce visual representations of the body’s interior and are used for clinical analysis and medical intervention. Typically, these studies are ordered at the request of a physician, but recently we’re hearing more chatter among consumers who are often driving the decision to have scans which may help get a clearer picture of their health. The Cardiac Calcium Scoring and CT Lung Cancer Screen are providing consumers and their physicians with information that may help reduce the risk of heart disease and lung cancer for those already at risk.
Coronary Calcium Score
What is a Calcium Score?
Cardiac scoring is a pain-free and non-invasive procedure requiring less than 10 minutes. Using CT imaging, 70-90 images of your coronary arteries are captured without any injections or needles. The amount of calcium or plaque detected in your coronary arteries is used to establish your cardiac score.
How do I know if I need a Calcium Score?
Cardiac calcium scoring will help determine your risk of developing coronary artery disease. It is a better predictor than cholesterol screening or other non-invasive tests. The scan can give your doctor more information to manage disease when it is present. Anyone with multiple risk factors such as family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, may benefit from a scan.
Is coronary artery disease treatable?
Yes. The calcium score is a strong indicator of your risk for coronary artery disease. With this information, your doctor can recommend the appropriate treatment, including diet and lifestyle changes, medication and/or further testing. The plaque build-up process can be slowed, stabilized and reversed, in some cases, through aggressive lifestyle modification and/or through medication therapies under the guidance of your physician.
CT Lung Cancer Screen
Who needs lung screening?
Lung screening is for current and former (quit within the last 15 years) smokers who smoke, or smoked an average of more than one pack a day for 30 or more years and are aged 55-74.
How will it help me now?
Recent studies show that screening heavy smokers reduced risk of dying from lung cancer by 20 percent. Screening allows disease to be spotted earlier, when treatments may work better.
Both screenings are easy and results are read by a team of specialists who will work together to develop a treatment plan if needed. Results will typically be provided to you and your physician within two business days. Most insurance companies do not cover these screenings. Cost for CT Lung Cancer Screen or Cardiac Calcium Scoring are $150 each. Next-day appointments are often available at Chestnut Hill Hospital. Call 215-248-8400 to schedule.
Each year 150,000 men and women die from a heart attack with no prior symptoms. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the US. If you smoke, quit! Call the Pennsylvania Free Quitline 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free telephone counseling or visit www.smokefreephilly.org for programs in our area. Give yourself peace of mind and take an active role in the management of your health.
Dr. Udis will attend the Pastorius Park Concert on Wednesday, June 18. He’ll be available at 7 p.m. to answer your questions about these and other medical imaging procedures offered at Chestnut Hill Hospital.