Monday, October 1, 2007
Medical Reports: Heartbeat
South Florida doctors are looking for a better way to predict heart attacks. As Seven's Richard Lemus shows us, they're hoping a new test can help them detect problems in a Heartbeat.
WSVN -- A heart attack can strike with little warning. Just ask Don Shackelford.
Don Shackelford: "About one o'clock, I wasn't feeling good. I started having some pains in the chest."
At the hospital, an EKG didn't reveal any heart problems. Instead of letting Don go home and come back later for a stress test, his doctor ran a Coronary Computed Tomography Angiogram or CTA. It's a new test that takes detailed pictures of the heart's arteries.
Dr. Michael Shen: "After reviewing the cardiac CTA scan, I knew he was having a heart attack. We could see his artery totally blocked, with a decreased blood supply and weakening of heart muscles."
Dr. Shen rushed to warn Don. That warning was almost too late.
Betty Shackelford: "And he said, 'How you feel, Don?' Don said, 'I like, I feel just fine.' 'Any pain?' 'No pain at all,' and he just went bam and fell back, eyes closed and he was gone."
Dr. Shen was able to resuscitate him and, thanks to the new CTA test, knew exactly which artery to target in surgery.
Dr. Michael Shen: "CTA really clearly provided us with the right information, at the right moment for the right action of treatment."
Cleveland Clinic is one of more than a dozen hospitals nationwide testing to see if CTA is better than the usual stress test for diagnosing chest pain. A stress test can take hours for results and doesn't show heart-pumping functions.
Dr. Michael Shen: "We're hoping this test will show CTA is a better and faster test for better and faster care."
Don is making changes to be more heart healthy. His wife is just glad he's still around.
Betty Shackelford: "We are very grateful that he is here and very grateful that he had that CTA scan."
Richard Lemus: "Doctors say if you don't have the CTA, don't worry. You're still getting the standard treatment. The clinical trial should last about a year."