Rapides Heart Check Q&A
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Rapides Heart Check?
A: Rapides Heart Check is a way to detect your heart disease risk – before you display any symptoms. This painless, non-invasive screening test uses computed tomography (also known as CT) to see if there is calcium buildup in the arteries of your heart – an early indicator of heart disease.
Why is it important to have a Rapides Heart Check?
A: According to the American Heart Association, 50 percent of men and 64 percent of women who died suddenly of coronary heart disease had no previous symptoms. The Rapides Heart Check is a screening test that identifies heart disease before you have any symptoms – or a heart attack. By taking this simple test, you can know now, whether or not you are at elevated risk for heart disease while you still have time to improve your heart health and lower your risk of a potentially fatal heart attack.
What is the accuracy of the test?
A: Studies show coronary calcium is an indicator of actual heart disease, regardless of other risk factors. The greater the amount of calcium present, the greater the likelihood of heart disease. A high calcium score may be consistent with a moderate to high risk of a heart attack in the next two to five years. In patients with a score of zero, the risk would be very low.
Who can benefit from this screening?
A: Rapides Heart Check is recommended for:
- Men age 35 and older or women age 45 and older with at least one of the following risk factors: family history of heart disease, high blood pressure or cholesterol, smoking, peripheral vascular disease, over ideal body weight and diabetes;
- Men age 45 and older or women age 55 and older without risk factors; and people with diabetes over 30.
- People who are pregnant, who already know they have heart disease, or who are obese should not take the test.
Do I need a doctor’s referral or order for the Heart Scan?
A: Yes, you must consult with your doctor before taking the test. Test results will be sent to you and your physician.
What does it cost?
A: The cost of the test is $100. The test includes all technical, medical and professional interpretation charges. Payment may be made by cash, check or credit card at the time of registration.
Do I need to prepare for this test?
A: We ask that you do not smoke, consume caffeine or exercise for four hours before your test.
What should I expect during the test?
A: You will be asked to lie on a special scanning table for a few minutes while a CT scanner images your heart. You may be asked to change into a patient gown for this test. All patients will need to remove any metal above the waist, including undergarments and jewelry. No needles, sedation or IV medications are used during this test. If your heart rate is above 75 beats per minute, you will be given a medication to lower your heart rate temporarily while your images are acquired.
What if my test results are abnormal?
A: Based on your test results, you will then need to follow-up with your physician for test results and possible further evaluation. If you do not have a physician, you will be encouraged to call RRMC at 318.769.4440 to find a primary care doctor.
How do I schedule this test?
A: To schedule your Rapides Heart Check, contact your physician for a referral. If you do not have a physician, you are encouraged to call RRMC at (318) 769-4440 to find a primary care doctor.
Where is this test performed?
A: The Rapides Heart Check is offered at the Rapides Outpatient Center, which is located on the first floor of the Rapides Heart Center. This is located on the campus of Rapides Regional Medical Center located on 211 Fourth Street in downtown Alexandria.
Where can I get more information?
A: If you have questions about the Rapides Heart Check, visit our website at rapidesregional.com or speak to your physician.