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Electron Beam Tomography – EBT
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Electron Beam Tomography – EBT
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Electron Beam Tomography - EBT
How is the Imatron EBT scanner different from any other CT scanner?

The Imatron EBT scanner uses computed tomography to obtain an x-ray image, much like a conventional CT scanner. However, instead of using an x-ray tube that rotates around the patient, an electron generator is used to emit electrons forward through a series of magnets and to a set of tungsten rings, which convert the electrons to x-ray beams that pass through the patient. Due to the extremely rapid movement of electrons, image acquisition is about 10 times faster than other CT scanners. This provides for a sharp, “freeze-frame” image of even a moving subject, such as the heart.

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Who will interpret the HeartTest EBT Heart Scan?

A HeartTest cardiologist will briefly review your scan with you immediately after it is completed. At that time you will be able to view some of your images and be given some preliminary information. Our medical director, Dr. Joseph Horgan, then reviews all scans and in three to five days you will receive a three-page comprehensive report that will include your calcium score, the percentile range you fall within for your age and gender, several representative images from your scan and recommendations for further assessment, treatment or follow up.

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What is the appropriate age to scan patients with the HeartTest EBT scanner?

We recommend that asymptomatic men 40 years of age or older, and women 45 years of age or older with one or more risk factors for heart disease should be scanned. We also recommend that persons within those age ranges and even younger be scanned if they are experiencing atypical chest pain or have multiple risk factors. Younger persons with a family history of a parent, sibling, or child having had a cardiac event before those ages may also need to be scanned earlier than standard age recommendations.

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What are the risks of having a HeartTest EBT Heart Scan?

The HeartTest EBT Heart Scan is virtually risk-free. Patients do receive a small amount of radiation exposure, but due to the extremely short exposure time (100 milliseconds), radiation is several times less than with a conventional CT scanner (800 milliseconds or more). And with the HeartTest EBT scanner, the x-ray enters from the back only, protecting the anterior radio-sensitive structures such as the breast, thyroid and orbits. The HeartTest EBT scan is non-invasive, painless, quick, non-claustrophobic, and accurate.

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Is any special preparation required and how long does the scan take?

No special prep is required to have the HeartTest Heart Scan – no fasting, no bloodwork, no medication and no special clothing. The entire process, including registration, scanning and check-out takes only about 15 minutes. There is no need to get undressed, no exercise and no needles or dyes involved.

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Will it tell me how much blockage there is in my coronary arteries?

No. This can only be done by an angiogram, which is a highly invasive and expensive procedure. The HeartTest EBT scanner measures coronary disease in a different way, and a way in which many physicians now believe is more important than the percentage of blockage (also referred to as stenosis or occlusion). The EBT scanner measures the amount of calcified plaque within your coronary arteries. This measurement is highly correlated with your overall level of atherosclerosis (i.e., the more calcium you have, the more plaque you have). The more plaque you have, the greater the likelihood you will suffer an event (heart attack or need for surgery) in the future.

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What is the significance of the “score”?

Calcium scores are provided based on the quantity and density of any calcium found in the coronary arteries. Although calcified plaque of surrounding structures, such as aorta, may be visualized, that will not be counted as a part of the total calcium score. Scores are calculated by two methods – the Agatston method and by a volumetric measurement. Scores are categorized by number as minimal, mild, moderate, or severe. Based on the category, which determines patient risk, various treatments may be recommended ranging from standard risk modification to more aggressive means such as medications, further testing, and intervention. Patients are also categorized by percentile based on their score, sex, and age, which compares the total calcium score to a comparable demographic population from a database of over 50,000 patients. Volumetric scores are used to track progression/regression of disease. Repeat scanning can identify whether or not treatment is effective, or if further changes should be implemented.

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How often should scanning be repeated?

To track progression or regression of the disease process, repeat scanning is recommended from every six months to every three years, based on the patient’s initial score and what types of treatments have been implemented. For patients older than 40 with scores of zero or less than ten, current documentation shows that repeat scans are not necessary for three years, unless the patient becomes symptomatic. For patients younger than 40 with multiple risk factors and a score of zero, it may be necessary to scan every one to two years to identify if calcification of plaque may have begun. To monitor effectiveness of medication and lifestyle changes, rescanning every year is the general recommendation. Studies show that in the average untreated population with coronary artery disease, the amount of disease increases by approximately 40% each year. So in comparing scans, if the total volume of calcified plaque has increased by less than 40% over one year, treatment has been effective at slowing the progression of the disease, although not effective at causing a regression in the amount of disease.

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Is atherosclerosis the same as coronary artery disease?

When we talk about either atherosclerosis or coronary artery disease, we’re speaking of the same disease process - the accumulation of plaque within the coronary arteries. Many cardiologists, however, make the distinction that coronary artery disease occurs when atherosclerosis has advanced so far that it has affected coronary blood flow and/or the function of your heart.

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Don’t most people have calcification of their arteries, as they grow older?

Yes, they do, but it is typically people who have large amounts of calcium who are most likely to develop a problem. And, since EBT not only detects but also measures the extent of coronary calcification, it can identify those individuals who are at greatest risk. Furthermore, there are many people in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and even 70’s who have no coronary calcium whatsoever. This test is particularly reliable in identifying these individuals who then can have peace of mind knowing they have a very low probability of having coronary artery disease.

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How much of the plaque is actually composed of calcium?

Research shows that roughly 20% of the total plaque is composed of calcium and can be visualized by the EBT scan. That means that 80% of the total plaque burden cannot be visualized by EBT or by any other non-invasive means available today. It is important to know that what is seen is only the “tip of the atherosclerotic iceberg.” Therefore, aggressive treatment of any patients identified as having coronary artery disease is vital to arrest or even regress the disease process.

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How do I schedule a HeartTest Coronary Artery Scan?

Just dial 954-HEART-11 (954-432-7815) to schedule your EBT Coronary Artery Scan. Appointments are usually available within 24 – 48 hours.

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Does a physician need to order the HeartTest EBT Heart Scan?

It is necessary to have a physician’s order prior to having the scan done. We encourage all patients to discuss the EBT Heart Scan, as with all other health care questions, with their personal physician and to obtain a written prescription. However, if you do not have a family doctor or if you choose to have a HeartTest Heart Scan on your own, we do have a full-time cardiologist on staff who is available to assess you for risk factors and provide you with a prescription for your scan.

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What if I don’t currently have a family doctor?

HeartTest has established an extensive network of area physicians in a wide range of specialties such as Family Practice, Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Pulmonology as well as many others. These physicians have all been educated in EBT technology and fully endorse its value as a diagnostic tool in detecting coronary artery disease. A list of these physicians is available upon request.

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Can I have my report sent to my doctor?

HeartTest encourages the involvement of your personal physician in any diagnostic tests or procedures you may decide to undergo. Your EBT scan results will provide your doctor with valuable information about the health of your heart that would, otherwise, not be available to him/her. Having this information will allow your doctor to give you the full benefit of his knowledge and expertise and if any treatment is required, a physician will be necessary to take responsibility for ordering and monitoring those therapies. For this reason we will make your test results available and will be more than happy to mail or fax a copy of your report to your personal physician. Please specify to whom you would like the report sent (along with their address) when completing your registration form.

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How much does the HeartTest EBT Heart Scan cost and does insurance cover the cost?

Although insurance reimbursement is variable dependent on each individual’s policy, most insurance company’s will pay for at least a portion of this test with a diagnosis and when ordered by a physician. The scan itself costs $ 445.00 (you may be eligible for a special discounted rate, so ask for details when scheduling your appointment). You may pay for your scan with cash, check, Master Card, Visa, American Express or Discover. HeartTest is not affiliated with any insurance companies therefore we do not submit insurance claims. We do, however, provide every patient with the documentation they will need to submit a claim to their insurance company and receive reimbursement directly.

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Body Scans
What is a Body Scan?

The HealthTest Body Scan consists of; scans of the heart, chest, abdomen and pelvis. Its purpose is to help identify early heart disease, cancer or other abnormalities early when there is a better chance of a cure.

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What is Electron Beam Tomography (EBT)?

EBT is a revolutionary approach to imaging, achieving exposure speeds up to 15 times faster than traditional mechanical and helical CT scanners (which rely on the mechanical rotation of x-ray tubes). EBT employs the latest advances in available technology to date to obtain high-resolution images of moving, as well as stationary objects. Obtaining pictures in 1/10th or 1/20th of a second, it is perfectly and specifically designed to evaluate moving objects such as the heart and lungs, as well as stationary parts of the body and can yield a full set of images in just seconds. EBT low dose cross sectional imaging of the body provides for the early detection of cancer. A board certified cardiologist specially trained in EBT interprets the heart scan. A radiologist specializing in body imaging interprets the chest, abdomen and pelvis. The Imatron Electron Beam Tomography scanner used at HealthTest performs low dose body scanning more effectively than other modalities. The 50-100 millisecond scan speed of EBT allows coverage of a 300 millimeter portion of the body with 3 millimeter slices in about 12 seconds. This data is then reconstructed as 3 or 6 millimeter slices allowing for precise location and maximum visibility of abnormalities. The same exam performed with a single slice spiral/helical scanner with 0.8 second rotation time must use thicker, 10 millimeter slices to cover the entire segment. The clinical necessity for the thinnest slices is obvious when looking for the tiniest and most important sub-clinical disease. Spiral/helical scanners are mechanical, and, thus, slower because of inherent design limitations. The Imatron scanner uses the proven and more reliable EBT technology, now the gold standard. EBT scans are remarkably free of motion artifacts because each image is acquired in only 50-100 milliseconds. This provides the sharpest images available today.

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What is involved for the patient having an EBT Body Scan?

The patient is asked to complete a conventional risk factor questionnaire and then instructed about the procedure. The patient will be sent a packet of oral contrast to be mixed with water and drank the night before the scan. A small amount of oral contrast is given to drink just prior to the scan. Studies are completed in a few minutes as multiple images are obtained during one breath-hold. There are no injections, no discomfort and no need to undress.

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Who interprets the EBT abdominal/pelvic scan?

EBT abdominal/pelvic scan are interpreted by a Harvard trained radiologist with subspecialty training in body imaging. HealthTest prides itself with having the most qualified specialists interpreting these very important scans.

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Why do a scan of the abdomen and pelvis?

There are many structures in the abdomen and pelvis that can develop disease such as cancer. Unfortunately many of these go undetected for many years while they continue to grow. Frequently by the time they are detected it is too late to cure them. EBT can identify abnormalities earlier when there is a greater likelihood of cure.

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What abnormalities can it identify?

Abnormalities such as cancer and other tumors, infections, certain stones, and aneurysms can be detected.

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What parts of the abdomen and pelvis can it evaluate?

Most of the organs in the abdomen and pelvis can be seen with EBT, including the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen, aorta, kidneys, bladder, ovaries, uterus, lymph nodes, prostate, and parts of the bowel. EBT Body Scan is not considered a screening tool for cancer of the bowel, uterus or prostate.

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Will EBT identify all abnormalities in the abdomen and pelvis?

EBT can identify cancer and other abnormalities in the abdomen and pelvis earlier when there is greater likelihood of cure. However, it is not perfect and some abnormalities including very early cancers may be missed. Periodic scanning should minimize the chance of finding cancers when it is too late to cure.

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Are other parts of the body seen on EBT abdominal/pelvic scanning?

Yes. Occasionally parts of the body close to the abdomen and pelvis are partially visualized. If the radiologist does see a possible abnormality it will be noted on the report. If a possible abnormality is noted this should be reviewed with your personal physician who is in the best position to make additional recommendations. Of course, if you do have additional questions you are always welcome to call HeartTest .

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What do the results of a follow-up EBT abdominal\pelvic scan mean?

If your repeat EBT abdominal/pelvic scan reveals no change, this is a good sign. You may still however require additional follow up. If there are changes seen then additional evaluation may be necessary. In either case it is always a good idea to discuss your report with your personal physician.

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If my EBT Abdominal\Pelvic scan is normal when should it be repeated?

The optimal time for a follow up abdominal\Pelvic scan has not yet been determined. However between three and five years would seem most optimal.

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What does it mean if a potential abnormality is found on the abdominal/pelvic scan?

Any potential abnormalities will be clearly noted on your report. Many of these will prove to be insignificant. However it is important to discuss these you’re your physician to determine the need for any further evaluation. Only a small percentage of these potential abnormalities will prove to be cancerous. This is the best way to identify those cases of cancer early and allow for a better chance of cure. If an abnormality is found on your EBT scan, you will receive recommendations that include review with your personal physician, and possibly a repeat scan in three months and/or consultation with a specialist. Sometimes a potential abnormality can be followed non-invasively by serial scans to look for changes. Very small changes in size can be detected by EBT. If no growth is seen over a period of time, it is considered benign (no cancer). If growth is detected than additional testing will be recommended.

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What should I do if a follow-up EBT scan is recommended?

If a follow up EBT lung scan is recommended it should be done at a center with advanced EBT technology. EBT Technology is the most advanced technology available for scanning. Other centers with advanced EBT technology are noted below.

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What do I do if I don’t understand my results?

We have tried to make the EBT Body Scan report that you receive as simple as possible. However we do appreciate the fact that some individuals may not fully understand their results or may have additional questions. We recommend that you review your report with your physician. If you do have additional questions please call us and our friendly staff will be glad to help you answer them.

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What is cancer?

Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal tissue, which can destroy normal tissue and spread to other parts of the body leading to destruction of other organs and eventually death. Hundreds of thousands of Americans are diagnosed with cancer each year. The five-year survival rate without early treatment is poor. Early diagnosis of cancer is critical to saving lives from this deadly disease.

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Can cancer be cured?

Yes. Many types of cancer can be cured if found early enough. The key to survival is early detection. EBT can help find cancers earlier, at time when there is greater chance of cure.

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What are stones?

Stones result from an accumulation of minerals, such as calcium, which can cause obstruction to certain parts of the biliary or urinary systems. These can be found in the gallbladder, kidney and other parts of the urinary system.

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What is an aneurysm?

Aneurysms are enlargements of a blood vessel as a result of weakening of the blood vessel wall. Because of this weakening rupture of the vessel can occur and if not caught early enough death can result.

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What is the cost of a follow-up EBT Body Scan?

We recognize that the high cost of medical care is sometimes a significant financial burden and sometimes medical insurance carriers will not cover the cost. Thus, in an effort to provide the best possible care for our patients at an affordable level, HeartTest has reduced the cost for a follow up EBT lung and abdominal\pelvic scans significantly. Please call HeartTest for these reduced rates.

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Are there significant differences in Body Scanning centers?

Yes. HeartTest is the only center of its kind in South Florida. HeartTest is a freestanding preventive scanning center dedicated to the early diagnosis of heart disease and cancer through the use of EBT. There is only a small number of centers worldwide offering state of the art EBT technology.

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Are there other facilities with Electron Beam Tomography?

There are only four locations in the state of Florida with advanced EBT technology. HealthTest is the only one in the Broward or Palm Beach County areas. There is one each in a Miami Beach hospital, Sarasota and Orlando. For a complete list of all state of the art EBT centers worldwide visit the Imatron (see links page)or call us at HealthTest. Make sure your future scans are done at a facility with advanced EBT technology.

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Where can I find more information about EBT?

A wealth of information can be found online at Imatron web site (see links page. If you would like any other information, please do not hesitate to call us at HealthTest. The phone number is 954-432-7811 or 1-877-432-7830.

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If you have any further questions or would like to schedule an appointment please call one of our friendly consultants at
877-432-7815 Boca Raton.



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