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New procedure at Takoma Regional helps assess heart attack risk

Takoma Regional Hospital and Cardiovascular Associates have partnered together to bring the latest technology in assessing a patient’s risk for a heart attack.

Coronary artery calcification scoring – more commonly known as calcium scoring – measures the amount of calcium present in a patient’s coronary arteries. Research has shown that calcium buildup in the coronary arteries – the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle – can indicate the presence of significant heart disease. Takoma Regional Hospital is the only hospital in Greene County offering the HeartShape™ calcium scoring test.

“This gives us another advanced tool to offer patients – a tool that will help prevent a heart attack in some cases,” says Dr. Gregory Uhl, a board-certified cardiologist with Cardiovascular Associate. “This is a quick, painless procedure that can provide physicians crucial information about the cardiovascular system and provide peace of mind to our patients who make the lifestyle changes necessary to improve their heart health.”

Dr. Uhl recently joined the medical staff of Takoma Regional, bringing nearly 30 years of experience in heart care to patients in Greene and surrounding counties. His CVA office is located in the Takoma Medical Associates building, located at 438 E. Vann Road near Takoma Regional. Dr. Uhl has a passion for not only treating his patients, but in educating them about their heart health. That’s why he’s eager to bring the HeartShape™ calcium scoring test to the community.

“The addition of calcium scoring at Takoma Regional is really about two things – our desire to offer patients cutting-edge technology close to home and educating the community about heart health, hopefully helping to reduce the deaths attributed to heart disease,” says Dr. Uhl.

Calcium scoring determines heart disease risk by assigning a risk ranging from low to high based on the amount of calcium deposits in the coronary arteries. The procedure is performed in the hospital’s radiology department using a high-speed computed tomography – or CT – scanner. Images generated by the CT scanner are reviewed by a cardiologists with the aid of sophisticated computer software, and a calcification score is assigned.

Patients who have a high calcium score will have a consultation with Libby Reed, physician assistant in the Greeneville office of Cardiovascular Associates, to discuss ways to discuss heart health, and ways to mitigate heart attack risk.

“Being able to offer this technology to residents in our community will save lives,” says Carlyle Walton, president and chief executive officer of Takoma Regional. “Our community will benefit from this kind of medical technology after making only a short drive.”

Calcium scoring costs only $99 – a reduced cost and a small price to pay for good insight into your coronary health. The fee covers the calcium scoring scan and an interpretation of the results.

“We’re excited to offer this to the region,” Walton said, “and we want as many people as possible to have the opportunity to take advantage of this chance to assess their cardiovascular health.”

Takoma Regional is a member of the Regional Heartcare Network, which is committed to providing the most current cardiac technologies and treatment for patients throughout the region. Calcium scoring is also available at Bristol Regional Medical Center and Mountain View Regional Medical Center in Norton.

A physician order is not required to have the test. To learn more, call Cardiovascular Associates Greeneville office at (423) 278-1825.