Hearts are breaking across the country, and it has nothing to do with a
disastrous Valentine’s Day. According to the Centers for Disease
Control, 600,000 Americans die each year from heart disease, which is
the top killer for men and women. Additionally, strokes claim 130,000
But, a 15-minute workup could make all the difference, as it did for Bessemer
City resident Larry Stone. A preventative cardiovascular screen uses three
non-invasive tests to provide a better understanding of a person’s
health. CaroMont Heart at CaroMont Regional Medical Center in Gastonia
has been offering the service for about two years.
During the screening, a vascular surgery technician uses an ultrasound
to look at the patient’s carotid arteries, which are the major arteries
in the neck, and the abdominal aorta, the largest artery in the abdomen.
Then, blood pressure cuffs are put on the legs to measure circulation,
said Dr. Paul Kochupura, a vascular surgeon at CaroMont Heart. Twelve-hour
fasting is recommended prior to the tests.
“It is a very fast, very focused examination done by highly trained
individuals,” Kochupura said. “We’re just trying to
heighten awareness of vascular disease in the community, (and the) services
we provide for folks if they are concerned. It’s another avenue
for addressing their health.”
Right after the workup, the person receives their results, which determine
the risk for heart disease, stroke, peripheral artery disease, aneurismal
disease and other health conditions. The patient will be referred for
treatment if the data is abnormal or if diseases are revealed.
“We’ve done a couple hundred of these (screenings) here. We’ve
had a few instances where we’ve screened folks and found people
with significant blocks that required surgery,” Kochupura said.
Stone, 57, was one of those patients. In January 2013, CaroMont’s
wellness bus offered screenings at Pharr Yarns, where he is a fitting
room technician. He didn’t initially sign up because he wasn’t
having any health problems, but then he changed his mind.
“I ended up being the worst one in the plant,” Stone said.
“(The screening) definitely saved my life. I was 99 percent blocked.”
The technician saw that Stone had a bad artery blockage on his left side
and called to make him an appointment for further testing, which the technician
pushed to be scheduled as soon as possible. A doctor saw him the next
day, and he had surgery in March 2013. On Friday, Stone stopped by CaroMont
Heart for his fourth sixmonth checkup, which included an ultrasound. He
received a good report and will only have to be seen yearly from now on.
He said he’s lost a little weight and eats healthier foods now.
In general, the highest-risk patients for heart issues are men older than
65 who have ever smoked, Kochupura said. However, earlier screening may
be beneficial to those with a family history of disease. Stone said his
brother died of an aneurism, and his mother had artery disease. After
the results of his cardiovascular screen, he talked his other brother
into being tested, too.
“When you get up in age, have that checked. It’s well worth
the money,” Stone said, adding that he only had to cover his co-pay
and his insurance took care of the rest.
People don’t have to go through their primary care physician to get
the preventative tests done; they can just make an appointment with CaroMont Heart.
Kochupura said the results from the cardiovascular screening can encourage
people to take their health more seriously.
“It’s useful for them to know that they should really consider
adjusting their risk factors to improve their overall health,” he
said. “I think it really is an opportunity for folks to participate
in their health care. It causes them to put a focus on their health in
terms of how they live their life.”
Want to get screened?
Call 704-671-7434 to make an appointment for a cardiovascular screening
with CaroMont Heart. To bring CaroMont’s wellness bus to your business
or group, call 704-834-3408.