23 June 2008

Alvan's heart check

Alvan's father recently underwent some more heart procedures. He has had coronary heart disease for many years, and it is a family condition that many of his siblings have died from. So, because Alvan is now getting close to the age his dad was when he had a quadruple bypass, and considering the fact that I now work for a company that has 12 cardiologists, what better time to check out the old ticker. I spoke with Dr Cox about Alvan's family history and he was more than happy to see him. Firstly, he had a have a stress echocardiogram. A stress echocardiogram assesses the likelihood that you have significant narrowings in your heart arteries. By comparing your heart functions before and after exercise using echocardiography (ultrasound), the cardiologist can infer whether enough blood is getting to your heart or if a narrowing is restricting this supply. His also had full blood tests done, all these tests showed Alvan to be in good health. But because of the strong family history, Dr Cox wanted Alvan to have one more test, a coronary artery scoring. A cardiac calcium scoring uses a special x-ray test called a computed tomography (CT) to check for build up of calcium in plaque on the walls of the arteries of the heart. This test is used to check for heart disease in an early stage and to determine how severe it is. Alvan had a total score of 292.

A score between 101–400 means there is a moderate amount of plaque is present. You have heart disease, and plaque may be blocking an artery. Your chance of having a heart attack is moderate to high.

Dr Cox has put Alvan on a lifelong daily course of Crestor and small asprin. The Crestor is used to lower the "bad" cholesterol and raise the "good" cholesterol. He will see him again in 3 months, at which time another round of blood tests will be done, and hopefully it will show improved results.

We feel that this whole experience although a bit of a shock has been such a blessing from Heavenly Father. We are amazed at the technology that is available today, and that we were able to access it all so easily and quickly for Alvan's benefit.

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