The Screening of a Lifetime
February 17, 2020
That was 52-year-old Todd Evans’ initial response when his wife, Heidi, suggested he have a coronary artery calcium scoring test at the South Dakota State Fair last Labor Day weekend. Evans – a father of three and an auto sales consultant from Huron – had been dealing with frequent heartburn and occasional lack of energy but didn’t suspect a heart problem. Overall, he felt fine, and he had minimal history of heart disease in his family.
After a bit of convincing, Evans agreed to the test. The results indicated substantial calcium buildup – an indicator of plaque – in the arteries of his heart. The Sanford Health team that administered the test scheduled an appointment for Evans with Sanford Health cardiologist Kelly Steffen, DO, FACC, at the Huron Regional Medical Center Specialty Clinic.
"Todd’s score was concerning because we want it to be 0, and his was 478, which is considered a sign of extensive calcified plaque,” Dr. Steffen says. “The test showed most of his plaque was in the left anterior descending artery, which is also called the ‘widow maker’ because it supplies most of the heart’s blood and a blockage can be deadly.”
Subsequent testing revealed blockages of 70% and 80% in Evans’ artery. In early November, an interventional cardiologist in Sioux Falls placed a stent at the site of each blockage to restore full blood flow. “I don’t have heartburn anymore or feel as tired as the day goes on,” Evans says. “I’ve been eating more fruit and other healthy foods, and I go home for lunch now instead of getting fast food.”
Evans is thankful he decided to get screened while at the fair. “Before, I never would have thought to have a screening,” he says. “Without it, there’s a good chance I might not be here today.”
To hear Todd's full story, visit the HRMC's WellOne Connection podcast. To learn more about preventing your risk for heart disease, read Young at Heart from the Winter issue of HRMC's WellOne Connection quarterly newsletter. For more information about the Coronary Artery Calcium(CAC) screening Todd had at the State Fair, click here.
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