In a continued effort to provide life-saving care and detect heart disease at the earliest possible stage, Saint Thomas Heart’s outreach efforts include many cardiovascular screenings that are offered in various locations throughout Middle Tennessee. These screenings are designed to arm patients with valuable information to make better, more informed decisions about their overall heart health. Some of the cardiac screenings offered by Saint Thomas Heart include:
- Stroke / Carotid Artery Screening
- Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening
- Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) Screening
Stroke / Carotid Artery Screening
Carotid Artery Disease is a condition where the carotid arteries in your neck become narrowed with plaque buildup, called atherosclerosis. At any time this plaque can rupture, forming blood clots restricting blood supply to the brain and leading to a stroke. A blockage in your carotid arteries is the leading cause of a stroke. Currently 5 million Americans are affected by a stroke. If you have established coronary artery disease or peripheral vascular disease, then your risk of a stroke increases. Age and family history are risk factors for stroke that you cannot control, but if you have modifiable risk factors, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, tobacco use, physical inactivity and high cholesterol, then with aggressive management of these risk factors the risk of a stroke can be lessened. Through ultrasound technology, the carotid arteries can be visualized. Early detection of carotid artery disease can be lifesaving.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening
An Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) is a "ballooning" of the abdominal aortic wall. AAA is often caused by plaque buildup, called atherosclerosis in the abdominal aorta. The majority of patients with an aneurysm have no symptoms. The first sign of an abdominal aneurysm is often a rupture of the abdominal aortic artery, which often leads to death. More than 15,000 Americans per year die from a ruptured abdominal aortic artery. Most patients do not survive long enough to reach the hospital. Persons at higher risk for AAA are male smokers or past smokers, age 55 or over. Other risk factors include established coronary or peripheral vascular disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and excessive alcohol use. Further testing, such as an abdominal ultrasound, may be warranted to evaluate for the presence of an aneurysm in the abdominal aorta.
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) Screening
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is a condition where the arteries of your legs become narrowed with plaque or cholesterol buildup that restricts the flow of blood. Having plaque in the legs often indicates there is plaque in other areas of the body, including arteries that lead to the heart and brain. At any time plaque can rupture and clots can form cutting off blood supply, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
For more information about Saint Thomas Heart and cardiac screenings available to you, please call 800.345.5016.