David's Story

Simple CT scan may have saved North Ridgeville mans life

“I want to thank University Hospitals for my life,” said David Painter, 70, of North Ridgeville. “I believe I am here today because of a cardiac calcium score screening offered by the hospital free of charge.”

These powerful words echo the sentiments of many members of the community that UH serves; nearly 4,000 people have taken advantage of UH’s no-cost cardiac CT imaging for coronary artery calcium scoring since September 2016.

Calcium score tests measure the amount of calcium (plaque) that has accumulated in the walls of the coronary arteries and provide physicians with what is termed a “calcium score.”

David first heard about the simple X-ray test from his primary care physician, Basavarajappa Viswanath, MD, during his semi-annual checkup in December 2016. Even though he had no symptoms that would indicate heart disease, Dr. Viswanath recommended that David undergo the test. “There was no cost for having it done, so I agreed,” said David.

The results warranted further testing. UH cardiologists define scores of 400 or higher as meaning that extensive hardening of the arteries has taken place and that aggressive prevention strategies should be used.

David’s score was 1,452.

Still, David wasn’t concerned because he felt fine. A stress test and cardiac catheterization confirmed what the calcium score test indicated – David had multiple blockages in his coronary arteries, including one that was 100 percent blocked.

He was referred to Yuriy Zhukov, MD, a cardiac surgeon with UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute at UH Elyria Medical Center. “I don’t know how you could have a better surgeon than Dr. Zhukov,” said David. “He carefully explained the procedure and was so kind to me and my family.”

On February 28, David underwent quadruple bypass surgery at UH Elyria Medical Center. After spending four days in the hospital’s cardiac progressive care unit, he was discharged home to recover. He is now participating in UH Elyria Medical Center’s cardiac rehabilitation program and is feeling stronger every day.

“I owe my life to that calcium scoring test,” said David. “Personally, I believe that everyone who meets the age requirements should have it, just like getting screened for blood pressure or cholesterol.” He continued, “I’m living proof of its importance.”

UH is offering no-cost cardiac CT imaging for coronary artery calcium scoring at 18 convenient locations across Northeast Ohio. Is the test right for you or a loved one? Read more about calcium scoring here, including guidelines for who should have the test. A doctor’s order is required.

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