FOND DU LAC (NBC 26) — SSM Health Greater Fond du Lac recently won the Heartflow Quality Award for Excellence for its cardiac imaging technology, meaning the hospital is in the top 18% of global medical centers providing this care.
The technology creates a digital 3D model of a patient’s arteries. Dr. Marc Atzenhoefer said it can take photos of the heart so quickly, it catches the heart when it’s still.
This is a big step up from traditional stress tests, which Atzenhoefer said don’t always show the whole picture.
“All of those tests evaluate secondary endpoints of a severe blockage,” Atzenhoefer said. “They don't tell you whether or not there's heart disease. So if that's what we really want to know, we need a different tool and that's where the cardiac CT scanner fills the void.”
The tech is already impacting the lives of patients like Steve Winterhack, who had a heart attack five years ago but kept experiencing minor cardiac issues like shortness of breath. Dr. Atzenhoefer said the symptoms may not have been enough to make a stress test turn positive, but a Heartflow Analysis revealed three more blockages.
“I just thought that it was something that almost everybody should have at a certain time,” Winterhack said. “With this, instead of waiting for a heart attack to happen, you get to see into your heart with 3D imaging. They can check the blockages before you actually have a heart attack.”
Atzenhoefer said the hospital has been using this technology to its maximum capability for about a year.