Heart disease is the leading all cause killer of Americans and, with early detection, can be effectively treated. Our new Ultrafast Heart Scan is the most accurate, most validated technology and the lowest radiation option for heart disease screening.
Simply put, the Ultrafast heart scan is more accurate than other heart scans and has less radiation exposure than even the EBT (Electron Beam Tomography) scan. We offer the latest and the best heart scans available today.
The Ultrafast CT machine uses a dual scanning system that is so fast that it can take pictures of your heart in between heart beats. This provides the most accurate screening technology available for detecting coronary calcium or plaque. The Ultrafast CT scanner can detect calcium or plaque in and around your coronary arteries at very early stages. All you do is to lay down on a table, full clothed, hold your breath for a few seconds and you are done. It is really that easy.
If you are a man, age 40 or over, or a woman age 50 or over, without risk factors, we suggest that you get a baseline heart scan. If you have any conventional or non conventional risk factors, it is recommended that you get a baseline heart scan sooner. These risk factors are things like (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, tobacco consumption, diabetes, family history or occupational stresses. Non conventional risk factors are things like sleep apnea or gum disease, to name a few.
If you also have a significant exposure to smoking (past or present smoker, passive, etc.) or other known carcinogens, we advise the addition of a CT lung scan (see lung screening). CT lung screening can find potential problems much early than traditional chest x-rays.
Pricing specials stated in video are no longer available, please call Front Range for current pricing.
Our aim is to decrease the number of heart attacks and other coronary events by identifying early those individuals who have heart disease and providing them with a proven means to accurately access their treatment progress.
To accomplish this mission, we use the most advanced medical technology for the early detection of heart disease… by far, the most important health issue impacting adult men and women in the United States.
A heart scan by Ultrafast CT is a major advance in detecting the early signs of heart disease (atherosclerosis or plaque) long before symptoms develop. Providing information safely, quickly and non-invasively, this revolutionary imaging technology is extremely accurate and sensitive. It is the best of available screening tools in revealing early coronary atherosclerosis, or heart disease.
Studies in the medical literature show that measuring coronary calcium (plaque) by Coronary Calcium Imaging is more consistently predictive of heart disease than any other of the risk factors, combined. This is important because, for 65% of people, the first and only symptom of heart disease is sudden death. Fortunately, the progression of coronary plaque, once detected, can be significantly halted (or even reversed) with proper medical and life style management.
So, if the question comes up as to “should you get a heart scan?”, the answer is a resounding “Yes!”. We recommend a baseline heart scan for every male over the age of 40 and every female over the age of 50. If you have risk factors, and especially a close family history of heart disease or high stress, then you might want to get one sooner.
Remember, it does not matter how fit you are, how much you exercise, how good your diet or how great (or bad) your cholesterol is. Everyone is at risk for heart disease until proven otherwise by their Heart Scan.
Heart Disease is Our Number One Medical Problem
Coronary heart disease or atherosclerosis is the leading cause of death among American adults. Every year, approx. 715,000 people have a heart attack and approximately 600,000 die. Of these people, 525,000 are first attacks. Statistically, these figures have not changed appreciably since 1900. (Data: CDC 2010 figures)
Current Methods to Find Risk Don't Work Very Well
If conventional risk factors worked, it would be logical to assume that annual coronary deaths would be going down. They are not. Individuals who are actually at high risk most often seem healthy. Millions of Americans will suffer a sudden or fatal heart attack even though they have:
Ultrafast CT heart scans provide an early warning system. For over 65% of Americans, the first and only sign of heart disease is a fatal heart attack. A heart scan to allows us to find coronary calcium, or plaque, at very early stages, long before an event happens or surgical intervention is needed. At these early stages sometimes all that is needed are small modifications in diet and/or exercise and proper nutritional supplements.
Early Detection Saves Lives
Early detection leads to better outcomes. The earlier plaque, heart disease, atherosclerosis is detected, the greater chance it can be slowed, stopped or possibly even reversed. Yes, reversed.
"Get a Scan, Know Where You Stand"
I Feel Fine and I Don't Have Any Symptoms Like Chest Pain
Studies have shown that 50% of people who get a heart attack had no prior symptoms and 65% do not survive their first encounter with a heart attack!
My Doctor Said I Don't Need The Test Because He/She Can Tell My Risk Level
Your doctor likely only has a very general idea of your risk by using conventional risk factor assessments. Studies have proven that decisions about lifelong cholesterol lowering therapy will be wrong about 40% of the time without a heart scan.
Using “conventional risk factors” to determine heart disease risk was great when they were all that we had. These risk factors were okay as “guesstimates”. They are very far from perfect as evidenced by the fact that statistically the number of heart attack deaths has not changed since 1900 in the American population. In other words, we have the same percentage of Americans dying of heart attacks today, in 2014 as we did in 1900.
We now have the Ultrafast CT technology to find out who has heart disease by looking at their heart. The way to determine who has heart disease is to look at their heart with an Ultrafast CT heart scan and not rely solely on bloodwork.
My Insurance Company Will Not Pay For The Test
At this point in time, no insurance companies cover the cost of a heart scan. There was also a time when insurance companies didn’t cover mammograms, bone density scans, or prostate screenings either. Many insurance companies are not enthused about preventive measures aimed at lowering risks for heart attacks that may occur 10 years from now. Hopefully this will change as it did with other preventive screening procedures. Sometimes, making a personal investment in your own health is necessary.
I Heard The Heart Scan Does Not Detect Whether I Have Major Blockage
Correct. Heart scans are about finding plaque long before any blockages occur. Contrary to what many of us believe, the majority of heart attacks occur because unstable plaque ruptures, not because there is a blockage. Two thirds of heart attacks occur when there is no significant blockage.. no stress test can find that out.
Listen to Your Symptoms
If you have any symptoms like chest pain or shortness of breath, see a doctor immediately even if your score is zero. Symptoms, especially in women, may be different than what we usually expect. Things like dizziness, unexplained fatigue, profuse sweating, and insomnia are some of the other things that could indicate heart disease or a heart attack.
Consider your results in the context of all of your risk factors. The two most consistent and most accurate risk factors for heart disease are family history and stress. There are many uncommon risk factors as well, such as gum disease and sleep apnea.
Bring your results to your doctor as he/she is in the best position to understand your entire medical situation. In most cases, if you have moderate or more extensive plaque or more plaque than 70% of others your age, you should be considered for treatment with plaque stabilizing medications (statins) even if your cholesterol is average. If you have a complex cholesterol abnormality, there are lipid specialists who would be glad to consult with you.
A physician referral is not required for an Ultrafast CT heart scan. We will contact you directly with your results if you have a score that puts you above the 75th percentile for your age and gender. We do encourage you to share your results with your doctor as he/she is in the best position to understand your entire medical situation.
Anything above a calcium score of zero is considered a positive score. Scores range from 0 to the highest we have ever seen was 10,000. About 2/3 of Americans do have scores of 0. Scores between 1-10 are considered “Minimal” plaque burden. Scores 11-100 are considered “Mild”, 101-400 are “Moderate”, and anything over 400 is considered “Extensive” plaque burden.
If you have severe or extensive plaque (over 400), especially if you are under 65, you might consider a visit with a preventive-oriented cardiologist who understands our CT heart scan. In some cases, a stress imaging procedure might be appropriate to search for hidden narrowing. If you do not have chest pain, it is likely that your stress test will be normal. A normal stress test in a patient with extensive plaque still means you are at higher risk and need medications like statins and/or ACE inhibitors. That said, not everyone with a score over 400 needs to rush off to see a cardiologist. This is why it is important to have an informed physician on board.
What's the Best Thing I Can Do for Heart Health?
If you have a positive calcium score, one of the most helpful things you can do is to make sure you are taking the right kinds and right amounts of heart supportive supplements. Some of the key supplements that have been supported in the medial literature are: Omega 3 fatty acids (EPA & DHA), nicotinic acid and vitamin D3. Very often a low-dose, water-soluble statin medication or a bile acid sequestrant prescription from your physician may also be needed. Adding more dark colored fruits and vegetables to your diet, along with a minimum of 40 minutes walking 3 times per week has also been shown in the medical literature to be effective in stabilizing plaque.
Why Get a Second Heart Scan?
"The only heart scan more important than your first heart scan is your second heart scan" -Dr. Bill Blanchet
Your First Heart Scan Tells You If You Have Heart Disease
This is the best way there is to find out. An Ultrafast CT heart scan is 10 times more predictive of heart attack risk than all conventional risk factors combined.
Your Second Heart Scan Tells You If Your Treatment For Stopping Heart Disease is Working
If your Calcium Volume Score from your previous heart scan has not increased by more than 14% in 12 months, your plaque is considered stable and you have dramatically reduced your risk of having a heart attack regardless of your calcium score or your cholesterol numbers.
What Are The Two Scores
--Calcium Volume: This is your score for you. It is used as your baseline. This is the score that we track to determine regression, stability, or progression of your heart disease.
--Agatston Score: A calculated score showing where you stand in relation to others in your age/gender group.
Studies have proven that for individuals with discernible plaque, the situation worsens yearly by about 35% – 40% on average if left untreated. However, in most cases, when treated, the process of atherosclerosis or the growth of new plaque can be slowed, stabilized or even reversed. The definition of a stable calcium score is “a score than does not increase by more than 14% in one year.”
Should I Repeat the Heart Scan?
In general, if your scan results are higher than zero, a repeat scan may be recommended at one year. It is the only way to monitor whether there is progression (worsening), stabilization or regression (improvement) in your coronary situation.
"No one knows what to do with a calcium score"
There is a wealth of published clinical data available on the relevancy and correlation of coronary calcium and heart disease. Dr. Bill Davis, cardiologist, has written a popular book, “Track Your Plaque” which also discusses this topic. This explains everything we need to know about heart disease detection and management, and even reversal, in an easy to understand, engaging format. Guidelines and recommendations published on what to do with calcium scores are readily available to help both patients and physicians make effective decisions on management of known heart disease based on calcium scoring.
"You only need one heart scan, follow-up scans are unnecessary"
Your first heart scan tells you if you have heart disease or not. Your second heart scan tells you if the plaque that you have is stable or unstable.
How does the second scan do this? If a positive calcium score does not increase by more than 15% in a 12 month period, then the existing plaque is stable and is very unlikely to rupture. If a positive calcium score increases by more than the 15% annually, the plaque is considered unstable or growing and may have the potential to rupture and cause problems. Basically, the only heart scan more important than your first one is your second one.
"There are false positives with heart scans"
There are few, if any, false positives with a heart scan. This idea was initiated by physicians who were not familiar with heart scans. When their patients came to them with positive calcium scores, the “knee-jerk” reaction was to send the patient for an immediate stress test. The patient would pass the stress test and the physician would say the heart scan was a false positive. Many people, some of them very famous, had fatal heart attacks shortly after a scenario such as this. Their heart scan showed they had potentially dangerous plaque. The stress test merely showed they had good blood flow.
"The heart scan is experimental, unproven and new"
The technology has been used at universities and hospitals since the mid-1980s. There are several hundred articles in various medical journals demonstrating the accuracy and utility of this procedure. Many of the world’s leading universities and heart hospitals routinely scan individuals with the Electron Beam Tomography (EBT) scanner. The newest scanners are the Ultrafast Dual Source CT scanners. Front Range has installed one of these remarkable machines in their office in 2023. There are data banks referencing the results of millions of heart scans. And, if this is not enough, just ask someone whose life was saved because they got a heart scan.
"There is usually nothing you can do with the results unless it is really severe"
Knowledge is powerful. A calcium score of zero provides a sense of relief and well-being that your life style is supportive of good heart health. Any score greater than zero can be looked at as even better news because you now have the opportunity to be proactive in stopping and even reversing your heart disease. There are supplements and medications available that can stabilize plaque and lower risks of ever having a heart attack. Some people will need more attention to other life style modifications such as diet, exercise, sleep, gum disease, etc. Whatever the score, the goal is stability.
Ultrafast CT is provided by a dual source scanner and can achieve scan acquisition speeds over 4 times faster than the fastest helical CT equipment (which rely upon mechanical rotation of a single x-ray tubes). This advance scan equipment allows us to evaluate moving structures like the heart and large surface areas (like the colon) during a single breath-hold. The radiation exposure from Ultrafast CT is much lower than from single source CT scanners and lower than even the previously best available EBT (Electron Beam Tomography) scanner.
Front Range Preventive Imaging (FRPI) employs only extensively validated and FDA approved technology, with the most advanced software for each service. That is why we have invested in the newest Ultrafast CT scanner because it is the best in noninvasive coronary imaging.
People should be aware of the trend to use higher radiation spiral or single source helical CT scanners when imaging the heart. These scanners typically have 3 times the radiation exposure and 1/3 the accuracy of the Ultrafast Dual-Source scanner used at Front Range Preventive Imaging. Doctors associated with FRPI have been practicing in Colorado for many years and remain committed to offering the best technology that is FDA approved for its clinical uses.
Front Range Preventive Imaging uses Ultrafast Dual-Source CT to perform accurate coronary artery imaging and quantify coronary calcium. Single-Source “Spiral or Helical CT” scanners are also used for calcium imaging. Spiral scanners cannot acquire images fast enough to prevent blurring due to the cardiac motion that occurs continuously. Studies have proven that spiral/helical scanners frequently mischaracterize patients as scores generated by these scanners are not necessarily accurate. In addition, the radiation dosage from such scanners is at least 3X higher than Ultrafast CT, often more depending on the protocol being used.
The coronary calcium score measured by CT has been proven to be a powerful predictor of future coronary events and has been shown to be able to monitor the progression, stabilization or reversal of atherosclerosis. No similar proof of accuracy occurs with any other type of scanner.
Whenever possible, get a coronary scan from an Ultrafast CT machine. If that is not possible, know that any heart scan is better than no heart scan at all.
It is especially important that your previous scan by Ultrafast CT is not followed by a scan from another technology. No physician will be able to interpret the score differences between two scans from two different scanners. To interpret rate of disease progression or improvement you will need 12 months between scans done on an Ultrafast CT canner and 4-5 years between scans done on 64 slice helical scanners.
If you are concerned about radiation dosage, Ultrafast CT has the lowest radiation exposure. It is often less than 0.7 mSv, which is the same as the exposure for a mammogram.
“Despite a very common misconception, heart disease kills a higher percentage of women than men. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in women. 7 times more women die of heart disease than breast cancer. One of the reasons for this, is that in women, typical risk factors are particularly non-beneficial in predicting who is going to have a heart attack.
The MESA Heart Study showed that 2/3 of women who were at highest risk for heart attacks were actually considered low-risk when using conventional risk factors. However, when you consider the presence or absence of coronary calcium as found and measured by a CT heart scan, these women were re-classified appropriately based on their real risk.”
A heart scan can change your future. Heart disease kills more women than all forms of cancer combined. The heart scan is the most effective tool we have at finding and measuring plaque in your coronary arteries. It can also determine if that plaque is growing or shrinking over time, allowing your doctors to adjust treatment accordingly without invasive procedures. If you are a woman over 50, Dr. Blanchet recommends an Ultrafast CT heart scan.
“In my practice, I feel that any woman over the age of 50 should have a heart scan because it is finding the disease that is more likely to kill them than all cancers combined. Heart disease kills 7 times more women than breast cancer. So, if we do a heart scan on a woman age 50 and base treatment on the presence or absence of coronary disease, or plaque, we will do a dramatically better job of finding out who needs to be treated and treat them appropriately.
The next thing is to find out when someone has a positive calcium score is if we are treating their heart disease sufficiently to stop the disease. We find this out by doing a second heart scan one year to three years later and compare it to the previous scan. If the calcium plaque burden is growing, then we know that we are not treating accurately to stop the disease and need to expand what we’re doing.
As a result of my current practice using the calcium imaging, and treating it to the point that the calcium stops growing, I have seen a dramatic reduction in the instances of heart attacks, strokes and coronary disease in my practice. In fact, I have had no sudden heart attack deaths in my patients for over 8 years.
I would once again encourage any woman over the age of 50, or any woman with a family history of heart disease or who has high stress, to get a heart scan. You can change your future.” -Dr. Bill Blanchet
“CORONARY ARTERY SCANNING IS THE BEST TOOL TO QUANTIFY THE AMOUNT OF PLAQUE IN THE CORONARY ARTERIES.”
Bruce Brundage, MD
Former Chief, Division of Cardiology, Harbor-UCLA
"THIS IS VASTLY MORE ACCURATE THAN ANY OTHER AVAILABLE WAY OF IDENTIFYING APPARENTLY HEALTHY PEOPLE WHO ARE AT RISK FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE. OUR FINDINGS SUGGEST THAT THIS COULD BECOME THE PRIMARY SCREENING TOOL FOR CORONARY DISEASE.”
Alan Guerci, MD
Professor of Cardiology, Columbia
Director of Research, St. Francis Hospital, NY
“ULTRAFAST CT SCANNING IS THE BEST TEST WE HAVE RIGHT NOW TO IDENTIFY HIGH RISK INDIVIDUALS.”
Daniel Rader, MD
Director of Preventive Cardiology and Lipid Referral Center
University of Pennsylvania Medical Center
“ONE OF THE REASONS I EVER GOT INVOLVED WITH CORONARY SCANNING IS TO TAKE MY GROUP INTO THE 21ST CENTURY.”
Robert Roberts, MD
Chief of Cardiology, Baylor College of Medicine
“WE ARE GOING TO SEE A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT OF CORONARY ARTERY SCANNING IN THE EVALUATION OF PATIENTS, IN PARTICULAR IN ASYMPTOMATIC INDIVIDUALS WHO NEED TO BE AGGRESSIVELY TREATED.”
John Rumberger, PhD, MD
Professor of Medicine, Ohio State (formerly Mayo Clinic)
“THE FACT THAT WE CAN ACCURATELY TELL PATIENTS THAT THEY DO NOT HAVE CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE IS A MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH.”
Alan Wasserman, MD
Chairman, Department of Medicine, The George Washington University Medical Center
“KNOWING THAT CORONARY CALCIUM IS PRESENT BY SEEING IMAGES OF THEIR OWN ARTERIES APPEARS TO PROVIDE A POWERFUL MOTIVATION TO PATIENTS TO STOP SMOKING AND CHANGE DIET AND EXERCISE HABITS.”
Randolph Patterson MD
Professor of Medicine and Radiology, Emory University School of Medicine