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Ron Wenclewicz: The Stress Test

Ironically, Ron Wenclewicz's signs of a heart attack started with a physical. To the world, Ron was in great shape. He was a lean, avid cyclist who had been passing yearly physicals since his 40th birthday. This year seemed no different, but a stress test was added by Ron's physician, since Ron's brother Mark had recently died at 46. Mark was in great shape as well, but died of extensive coronary artery disease when he collapsed playing basketball.

Ron breezed through the physical and stress test. But later at home Ron felt something wasn't right. His physician advised that he go to the emergency room (ER), but Ron figured it was nothing to be alarmed about. The next day at work things still didn't feel right. Ron was dizzy and even felt disoriented on his way to catch the bus home. Now it felt serious. Ron immediately went to MVH's ER. With his brother's history, he was admitted for monitoring. After being thoroughly tested, Ron passed and was released.

A year-and-a-half later the same thing happened again. And again, a full battery of tests showed nothing out of the ordinary. But Ron's physician still suspected it was his heart. He directed Ron to Dr. Mukul Chandra to do a 64-slice CT scan. Dr. Chandra recommends the 64-slice scan for younger patients where blockage may not be seen with the normal tests.

The 64-slice CT took images of Ron's aorta and reassembled these in the computer to show a complete picture of Ron's heart in minute detail, especially vein blockage. Ron was given a beta blocker before the test to slow his heartbeat to 60 or slower for a better picture, as well as a contrast agent. Then Ron held his breath for 15 seconds to immobilize his chest, as if holding still for a picture. Unlike older CT scans, the 64-slice can take a lot more pictures during one breath giving a much more stable group of images to work with.

From a 64-slice scan, Dr. Chandra could tell that Ron's heart was healthy, but could spot a small blockage in its early stages. This had not been visible in any other scan. Preventative steps were immediately taken to assure that Ron's heart would stay healthy for years to come.