(Art by Antony Micallef)
Recently, our band’s business manager, Jonathan, shared a shocking story with us. His childhood friend had passed away from a heart attack at the young age of 42. At the funeral, Jonathan and his friends were talking about their mutual friend’s passing, and decided to all get their hearts checked.
Jonathan went to the doctor, who recommended a “CT Angiogram.” It bears mentioning that Jonathan is, at a glance, a very healthy guy. He’s arguably fitter than I am, eats better, and exercises more often. He has a wife and beautiful children. He had absolutely no reason to believe he had heart problems. Jonathan was waiting for results in the doctor’s office. The doctors came in, and were obviously not happy.
Jonathan was terrified.
They told him he had nearly 100% blockage in his heart. If he didn’t get immediate attention, he would have likely been dead within the month.
After calling his family and crying on the phone, he went into surgery. He ended up receiving a stent to restore blood flow, and decided to take on a lifetime change in diet and lifestyle. Since then, he has started a foundation called the Heartview Global Foundation. Their goals include: creating a fund to pay for the CT Angiogram for people who can’t afford it, spreading the message of awareness, and encouraging more medical insurance companies to cover the cost of these life-saving tests. Jonathan’s personal goal is to “save thousands of lives.”
If you have any family history of heart problems, or if you simply don’t know, please get tested right away.
From Dr. Satinder Bhatia, MD:
Coronary CT angiography (CTA) represents a great advance in the early detection of coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease (CAD – hardening of the arteries) is often clinically silent (no recognizable symptoms). Early detection of CAD can lead to aggressive prevention strategies to avert heart attacks and save lives. CTA represents a noninvasive modality for the early detection of CAD. Using an ultrafast scanner and injection of a contrast material through a peripheral vein, high resolution images of the coronary arteries can be obtained. Such images were previously only available via invasive coronary angiography that involves the introduction of catheters into the coronary arteries. CTA allows the visualization of the coronary arteries and detection of stenosis (narrowing), hard plaque (calcified cholesterol deposition), soft plaque (non calcified plaque) and vulnerable or high risk plaque (increased risk for acute events such as heart attack). This noninvasive technology is the only methodology that visualizes soft plaque. By identification of arterial disease, specific treatments can be applied for the prevention of cardiovascular events (heart attack, sudden death). CTA represents a major advance in the early detection of CAD in individuals at risk and allows the ability to detect disease in advance of symptoms or clinical presentation. Judicious application of CTA technology can lead to early detection and treatment of CAD, prevent heart attacks and save lives.