WATERLOO (KWWL) -- Thanks to new technology, it only takes minutes to uncover heart problems. In tonight's Health Plus we show you the most powerful scanner in eastern Iowa. It's being used in one local hospital.
Teresa Urness thought she might have indigestion.
"I was thinking maybe just a little muscle twinge, wasn't sure what it was. Could have been indigestion," she says.
But her family doctor knew the 57-year-old's family history. Her dad died from heart failure. Her mom had triple bypass surgery. So he told the Fredericksburg woman to get her heart checked. It was good advice. Covenant Medical Center's new, state-of-the-art CT scan revealed heart trouble in just minutes and without doing a traditional, invasive angiogram.
"We are now able to get those anatomic pictures of the coronary arteries with a CAT scan without putting a catheter in,"says Dr. Tim Carmody, a Covenant radiologist.
Carmody says this diagnostic screening tool has the most powerful x-ray tube available yet it cuts the radiation exposure in half. Teresa's coronary CT angiogram recorded images of her entire heart and its arteries in seconds.
"They determine you either do or don't have blockage and if you don't, you don't have to have that procedure done," says Urness.
She did have blockage and had an angioplasty with two stents put in last December.
But carmody says the goal of advanced technology like this is prevention.
"Ultimately what we'd like to do with coronary disease is catch it in early phases not to treat it surgically or with a stent but treat it medically and see if we can prevent them from getting to that bypass stage until they're 60, 70, 80-years-old."
It's one more way doctors are saving lives without putting patients under the knife.
Covenant's Cardiac CT scanner cost more than one and a-half million dollars.