Give the gift of ' peace of mind' this Christmas

Monday, November 29th 2004, 10:05 am

By: News On 6

A Tulsa hospital has dropped the price of one of its heart scanning procedures, because it believes the test can save lives.

News on 6 reporter Rick Wells talked to a Tulsa man who believes the test did exactly that for him.

Wendell West: "I think I dodged a big bullet." He found a 90% blockage in one of his coronary arteries by getting a CT scan at the Saint Francis Heart Hospital. Did it save his life? Dr Gregory Hill his cardiologist thinks it might have. "Did it save his life, yeah, possibly if not it surely saved him some potential disability."

Here's what happened. Wendell West heard an ad on the radio for this simple procedure to scan his heart for problems. He had no symptoms, nothing was bothering him. Everything he said was a little high, but normal, nothing he was worried about. But he said his father had died of a heart attack, so he thought why not.

The scan found some calcium blockages. After they showed up, Wendell took a stress test and flunked that. That led to an angiogram.

CT scans have been around for years. These machines are a higher resolution and newer technology that can provide a clearer picture of a beating heart. They can see blockages that might not appear during a standard stress test and as in Wendell West's case a blockage not resulting in symptoms.

He's convinced. “If you wanna live a long life and see the grandkids grow up you need to take care of the belts and the oil changes." He's got a brand new grandson, so he wants the engine to run for a long time.

The HeartCheck CT normally costs $149 and most insurance companies won't pay for it. Now through January 1st, the cost is $125.

If you'd like more information about the test, check the Saint Francis Heart Hospital website.

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