“A 10-minute heart scan probably saved my life!”

— Rita Driver

At age 66, Rita Driver never thought she might have heart disease. “I ate healthy foods and got plenty of exercise,” Rita says. But then, Rita started having some troubling symptoms. “I had bad back pain and night sweats,” she says. “I even fainted twice. I thought it was probably just stress because I was working so much.”

In September, Rita saw her primary care physician, Dr. Stanley Chunn. “When I told him my symptoms, he immediately advised me to have a heart scan,” Rita says. The five to ten minute procedure measures the amount of calcified plaque in the arteries, which can block the flow of blood and cause a heart attack. Rita was able to have her scan that same morning at Macon Community Hospital, with Radiology Technologists Leslie Massengille (left) and Kaylee Smith (right) conducting the test.

The results were shocking. A score of 400 or greater indicates a 90 percent chance that plaque is blocking an artery. Rita’s score was 604. “It was such a surprise,” says Rita, who needed surgery to open up her arteries with three stents. “But then I learned that women often have different symptoms than men for heart disease, including sweating, feeling lightheaded and back pain. I highly recommend that people speak to their doctor about having a heart scan. It’s painless, takes just a few minutes, and it could save your life!”