Paul Bosland, 86, knew firsthand how unknown health problems could turn deadly in an instant.
Sitting in his cardiologist’s office at Baptist Medical Center Nassau in September 2020, he recalled how he suddenly lost his close friend to a brain aneurysm. Since his health was a priority and he was experiencing mild chest pains, Bosland was curious if Paul Dillahunt, MD, cardiologist with Baptist Heart Specialists, could go beneath the surface to find out why.
“I didn’t know how to explain it,” Bosland said. “I just didn’t feel right.”
But thanks to new cutting-edge technology at Baptist Nassau, Bosland was in luck. According to Dr. Dillahunt, the hospital had just received a new cardiac scanner, capable of imaging the entire heart in just a couple of beats.
Heart in the right place
Called a Revolution ™ CT scanner, the machine helps physicians see inside blood vessels and arteries by sending small beams of X-rays into the body during the heartbeat cycle. Rather than viewing scan results at a later date, cardiologists can check patients for heart disease in real-time at the touch of a button, and without physically entering the heart with catheters.
“This new tool improves upon the technology and expert care we were already providing at Baptist Nassau,” said Baptist Heart Specialists cardiologist and cardiac CT specialist Houston Mooney, MD. “This scanner and test can sometimes detect problems earlier than cardiac stress tests, and in many cases can give us more confidence in patient treatment when used to complement traditional tests. It’s an excellent option among the tests we perform for our patients.”
Bosland said his previous routine stress tests seemed to show his heart was in near-perfect health. But after Bosland mentioned how he felt unwell, Dr. Dillahunt ordered the Revolution ™ CT scanner’s coronary CT angiogram (CTA) imaging test to look at the arteries supplying blood to his heart in order to rule out any blockages.
"I knew it was better to be safe than sorry,” Bosland said. “When Dr. Dillahunt told me this was an option, I thought, let’s do it.”
Bosland soon found out his heart was in the right place in wanting to have a more in-depth test. His results from the new CTA machine revealed a major blockage.
‘Get a test and save a life’
According to Dr. Dillahunt, Bosland's previous stress test gave a rare false-negative result; he had a blockage while his stress test gave the all-clear. Early detection is essential to help patients have a better chance of recovering from this condition, and the CTA machine’s test bought Bosland a priceless gift: time.
“Without this scanner, we wouldn’t have been able to determine if anything was there until much later,” Dr. Dillahunt said. “Mr. Bosland had a large blockage in an area that serves large amounts of heart muscle; this test could have prevented him from having a major heart attack.”
According to Baptist Heart Specialists’ director of advanced cardiac imaging, Praveen Kanaparti, MD, Baptist Health will operate four CTA scanners across four campuses by the end of 2020, helping patients with chest pain be diagnosed faster across the entire hospital system.
“Cardiac CTA is already a preferred first-line test to assess patients with chest pain in Europe,” Dr. Kanaparti said. “When performed as an initial test, CTA not only reduced unnecessary cardiac catheterizations, but also improved medical management of these patients by identifying those with mild disease who could benefit from more aggressive therapy.”
Even though Bosland’s situation was not an emergency, Dr. Dillahunt scheduled him with the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at Baptist Heart Hospital just days after his test result. Salvatore DiLoreto, MD, an interventional cardiologist with Baptist Heart Specialists, placed a coronary stent in his artery to open up blood flow and remove the blockage.
After his heart procedure, Bosland said he feels more energetic than he has in years. His blood pressure measurements have come down to excellent levels, and his pain disappeared.
Now devoted to cardiac rehab exercises to keep blood pumping, Bosland believes his curiosity is the reason he has a newfound road to recovery.
“You never know what you might find,” he said. “I hope my story can help someone else decide to get a test and save a life.”
Baptist Heart Specialists use the most state-of-the-art technology available to care for patients with heart disease. To schedule an appointment with a heart specialist near you, visit baptistjax.com/heart or call 904.420.4847.