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Summit Medical Group recommends cardiac screening to help predict heart disease risk

February 3, 2016

Feb. 3, 2016

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Lauren Miller
Moxley Carmichael


An elective screening can help identify heart disease risk, and Summit Medical Group is encouraging men and women to schedule the test during American Heart Month in February.

The Cardiac Calcium Scoring CT can help predict heart disease risk at an early stage, before symptoms occur, for up to 10 years after the scan. The exam uses high-resolution, rapid computed tomography (CT) to take multiple angle X-rays to create 2-D images of the beating heart. Physicians analyze the CT to provide a calcium score for risk of cardiac artery blockage.

“Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death among American adults, and half of those deaths occur suddenly without prior symptoms,” said Ranee Guard, Summit Medical Group vice president of diagnostic and therapeutic services. “However, if the risk factors leading to a heart attack are identified early enough, 85 percent of sudden heart attacks may be prevented.

“The best proven medical advancement available to identify those risks in early stages is the Cardiac Calcium Scoring CT – and it’s a simple 15-minute, non-invasive test.”

The cardiac calcium exam determines the amount of atherosclerosis, or plaque buildup, in the coronary arteries, which is directly related to a person’s risk for a heart attack. Over time, plaque can cause hardening and narrowing of the arteries, decreasing blood flow to the heart. Each patient’s physician receives a report of the cardiac calcium score so that the doctor can devise a comprehensive plan to minimize risk and maximize heart health. Early modification of risk factors, as well as drug therapy in some cases, can slow the progression of coronary heart disease or coronary artery disease (CAD).

The screening is recommended for men 45 and older and women 50 and older, especially those with risk factors for developing CAD, such as a sedentary or unhealthy lifestyle, family history of heart disease, abnormal cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, history of smoking, obesity and diabetes.

No physician referral is required to schedule the exam, which is offered at Summit Diagnostic Center, Deane Hill, at 7211 Wellington Drive in Knoxville. The Cardiac Calcium CT screening costs $125 and is not covered by most insurance plans.

To schedule a screening, call 865-588-8005. For more information about Summit Medical Group and Summit Diagnostic Center, visit

About Summit Medical Group

Summit Medical Group is one of the largest primary care based organizations in East Tennessee with 230 physicians and more than 150 advanced practitioners providing care at over 50 practice locations in 12 East Tennessee counties. Summit also consists of four diagnostic centers, mobile diagnostic services, seven physical therapy centers, three express clinics, a central laboratory and a sleep services center. Summit provides healthcare services to more than 260,000 patients, averaging over one million encounters annually. Summit’s Statcare division, which includes 70 of the group’s physicians and 40 of its mid-level providers, delivers superior care for hospitalized patients. For more information, visit


Maria Cornelius