Heart Scans Come with Warnings
Many of today's high-tech heart scans can predict such ailments. But, some cardiologists warn the devices should be used for people who really need them, not as medical fortune tellers.
"Unfortunately, the heart doesn't heal well," said Dr. Andrew Arai of Suburban Hospital. "And so it's really critical to diagnose someone before critical damage is done."
Most cardiologists recommend the devices in order to diagnose heart ailments. But, some are using certain scans, like the coronary calcium scan, to determine future problems.
"What it does, it looks at the plaque buildup or artheroclerosis within the coronary vessels," said Dr. Douglas Jones of Suburban Hospital. "As the plaques progress, they often become calcified. And that calcification can cause a heart attack."
Some medical store fronts advertise that a quick heart scan can save lives, but many doctors and researchers question how reliable some heart-scan technology is. The American Heart Association recommends only certain patients, usually high-risk, think about having a heart scan.