The Emory Heart Center celebrates National Heart Month every February with free lectures, low cost health screenings and other activities.
This year the festivities begin a day early - January 29th - with events held at the Emory Cardiac Imaging Center, located at Emory Clinic A on Clifton Road. February was first proclaimed National Heart Month by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Over the past 40 years, the field of cardiology has made great advances in diagnosing and treating heart ailments. In fact, since President Johnson was in office, the death rate from coronary heart disease has fallen by nearly 60 percent. However, heart disease is still America's number one killer. But among the newest weapons in the fight against heart disease are the high tech imaging tools available at the Emory Cardiac Imaging Center.
Under the direction of Mushabbar A. Syed, MD, a team of imaging specialists offers the most thorough and advanced cardiac imaging services available in Georgia -- including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) and nuclear cardiology (PET).
"These cutting edge cardiac imaging modalities are considered the future of cardiology and highlight the importance of non-invasive imaging which offers significantly reduced risks to the patient as compared to invasive imaging," says Dr. Syed. "This technology can be very important in early detection as well as the precise diagnosis and management of patients with cardiovascular diseases."
For example, CT coronary angiograms and ventriculograms examine coronary artery anatomy and heart function non-invasively. Comprehensive cardiac MRI studies test the size, blood flow, functioning and viability of the heart while nuclear cardiology (PET) testing measures heart muscle blood flow and function at rest and stress. "Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the leading cause of death in the United States - and many heart attacks occur in people who've had no previous symptoms or warning. CT coronary calcium scans can find early indicators of coronary artery disease," notes Dr. Syed. Visitors who attend the January 29th event, slated from 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., can register in advance to have a for a reduced cost CT coronary calcium scan at the event. No physician referral is needed for the test.
Emory Heart Center cardiologist Laurence Sperling, MD explains that the CT scan of the heart detects calcified plaque in the coronary arteries. The results of the scan are then analyzed and processed by a technician. An absolute score, as well as an estimated age/gender stratified percentile, is generated and interpreted by a physician.
"A high score, being in the upper 25th%, confers increased risk. By having this information, you and your doctor can work on a treatment plan to lower your risk of heart attack. Although a score of zero does not absolutely mean you do not have significant CAD, although it is highly unlikely, it indicates your chance of not having a heart attack is about 98% over the next 3.5 years," Dr. Sperling says.
In addition to the reduced cost CT scan, cholesterol, osteoporosis and carotid artery blockage testing will be offered at the January 29th Heart Month event. The Emory Cardiac Imaging Center event will also include a series of free lectures on a variety of heart topics including heart failure, heart arrhythmias, low carb dieting, and women and heart disease. There will also be a heart healthy cooking demonstration by Whole Foods.
For more information and/or to register for a heart scan, contact Emory HealthConnection at 404-778-7777.