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St. Joseph’s Hospital-North Using CT Scans to Help Rule Out Heart Attacks
TAMPA, Fla. (January 8, 2013) – At St. Joseph’s Hospital-North many patients visit the hospital complaining of chest pain or heart attack symptoms. Many times, the patient is not having a heart attack, but it still has to be ruled out.

Now, cardiac computed tomography angiography (CCTA) provides a quick answer so that patients can get the early treatment they may need or receive a clean bill of health – fast.

Using a 128-slice computed tomography (CT) scanner, doctors can look inside the heart and see multiple images of the blood vessels and heart muscle in a test that takes 20-30 minutes (plus time to read results).

“The standard testing for patients with chest pain includes a nuclear stress test, electrocardiogram (EKG) and possibly an angiogram, which can be invasive,” said Kelly VanEpps, M.D., medical director of the imaging department at St. Joseph’s Hospital-North. “It can include a hospital stay of up to two days to run all of the appropriate tests and diagnose the patient.”

“With the CCTA, a specialized CT scan of the heart vessels is done in just a few minutes and can quickly identify serious blockages or narrowing in patients with chest pain,” said Dr. VanEpps.

Patients can expect to have results back in about three hours, giving them peace of mind. There are other benefits, too, including safe, expedited discharge from the hospital – which could mean a less expensive ER visit.

How can ER doctors decide if a CT scan is appropriate? Low probability patients, those who have minor chest pains, who are not over weight or do not have high blood pressure, diabetes, rapid heart rate or family history of heart disease, are more than likely to be discharged directly from the hospital without being admitted to the hospital.

The program at St Josephs Hospital-North is modeled after a similar successful program in place at St Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa for the last few years, with scans obtained and rapidly interpreted by the same radiologists.

The CT scanners are accredited by the American College of Radiology and must pass a rigorous process of quality assurance and safety inspections.

“Scans of this type are usually not available at smaller hospitals, distinguishing St. Joseph’s Hospital-North from many other Tampa Bay area hospitals,” said VanEpps. “We’re proud to be able to provide this important service to the local community.”

St. Joseph's Hospital-North, the all-digital, state-of-the-art facility located just north of Tampa, is specially designed to make patients and visitors as comfortable as possible during their hospital experience.

St. Joseph’s Hospital-North provides advanced medical, surgical and imaging care in a beautiful facility designed to facilitate the best in modern health care delivery. Services include: Imaging, Interventional Radiology, Cardiac Catheterization, Vascular Surgery, Otolaryngology, Emergency Care, Intensive Care, Interventional Radiology, Laparoscopic Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery, Urology, Labor and Delivery, Sleep Disorders and ACR-Accredited Breast Imaging.

St. Joseph's Children's Hospital of Tampa • 3001 W. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. • Tampa, FL 33607 • (813) 554-8500