Wayne's Cardiology Story
For Wayne Nye, a lifetime of paying attention to the details paid off in a job as a pharmacist specializing in information technology support at Martha Jefferson Hospital.
Lucky for Wayne, he takes the same meticulous approach to maintaining his heart health. The 51-year-old father of three, who has been a valued member of the hospital team since 2001, is keenly aware of the increased cardiac risks delivered through his bloodlines. Continue Reading
Learn more about screenings that can shed more light on your cardiovascular health.
Heart disease crawls like kudzu up Wayne's family tree
His father suffered his first heart attack in his early 50's and ultimately died from heart disease. It also claimed the lives of his maternal and paternal grandfathers. His uncle is currently battling the disease as well as a 48-year-old cousin.
It comes as no surprise that Wayne is particularly conscientious about doing all the right things when it comes to his health. He makes a special effort to eat right and exercise. He runs three times a week, often as much as five miles. He keeps up with his blood pressure, cholesterol and other traditional heart screenings in order to keep a close eye on any fluctuations. He is a proactive kind of guy.
At the recommendation of his physician, he also underwent a cardiac exercise test and a "cardiac nuclear imaging stress test." The latter involves a small amount of nuclear isotope being injected into the bloodstream and images taken before, during and after exercise on a treadmill.
He passed both with flying colors. When he took the tests just over a year ago, he had a clear bill of health. At the time, it was the best information available without undergoing an invasive procedure.
64-slice CT Technology Leaves No Doubt About Heart Health
Today, a revolutionary imaging technology at Martha Jefferson Hospital is helping members of our community understand the exact extent of their cardiac health, and precisely determine their personal risks related to their family history of heart disease.
For Wayne, this technology was introduced not a moment too soon.
As a member of the Martha Jefferson family, Wayne learned about the opportunity to become one the first members of our community to be screened by the hospital's new, state-of-the-art GE LightSpeed 64-Slice VCT (Volume Computed Tomography) Scanner.
The 64-slice CT scanner features the latest heart-scanning technology on the market today. It is a non-invasive tool that allows physicians to capture images of unprecedented clarity and detail in just five beats of the heart. A full body scan can be completed in just ten seconds.
What great proof, he thought, of how to show that his efforts had paid off. "I wanted my physicians and my family to see what a great job I had done overcoming heredity."
Like all patients using this screening, Wayne was given contrast dye to make his arteries visible, received medications to slow his heart and to dilate his arteries. When the heart reached a slow and steady rate of 60 beats per minute, he was ready to be scanned. Soon, doctors had the initial images of his heart on their monitors. He was done with the test in half-an-hour, and doctors had an array of full-color, full-detail images to review shortly thereafter.
What happened next shocked Wayne.
He soon found himself in the office of Martha Jefferson interventional radiologist Dr. Anthony Spinelli. Dr. Spinelli sat Wayne down and brought up the 3-D images, rotating 360 degrees, on his computer monitor. He then methodically walked Wayne through a tour of his cardiovascular system, and showed him what no previous test could illuminate.
Two of the three major arteries that supply blood to Wayne's heart had narrowed by 50 percent, and there was a dangerous buildup of soft plaque that is often hard to detect in traditional CT scans and other common testing procedures.
"Wayne in five years or less could have suffered the same fate as his father and grandfathers," said Dr. Spinelli. "When it comes to heart disease, it's difficult to overcome the genes. With these test results, and ongoing follow-up from his primary care physician and other specialists, Wayne now has a chance to break the legacy and defy his family history."
"We have never had a tool that can bring the arteries of the heart into such clear detail non-invasively," continued Dr. Spinelli. "People with a family history of heart disease owe it to themselves, and to their loved ones, to learn about how heart disease might be affecting them. Approximately 150,000 people without showing prior symptoms die suddenly of heart attacks every year. With the 64-slice CT scanner, the medical staff and imaging technologists at Martha Jefferson hope to lower that number in our community by identifying those at risk who otherwise might seem in good cardiovascular health."
For Wayne, the information provided by the 64-slice CT test made a significant change to his life. Wayne and his medical team put that information to work immediately. He is currently working with his primary care physician to attack blood pressure, cholesterol and lipid agent-related issues, with a goal of cutting these numbers in half.
"I am walking around telling people I have heart disease and that I'm going to be the one who's going to knock it. I am glad I did the study, that's for sure. I would have gone around patting myself on the back with all the normal green light indicators, and now I know the whole story. The bottom line is I underestimated heredity, and no one should do that."
Wayne's story first appeared in the Martha Jefferson Magazine in the Fall 2007 edition.
Soft plaque is an unstable or "vulnerable" form of plaque that can do more damage than reducing blood flow through an artery. Soft plaque consists of a high lipid - or fat - content, and can become fragile and rupture. When this occurs, the soft plaque breaks off from the walls of the artery and prompts blood clots which can cause severe heart attacks and strokes.
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