CardioGraphe: CT scanner in Lisle helps treat heart patients more quickly and thoroughly

Heart disease is leading cause of death in the United States, with nearly 700,000 people dying every year.

To help treat patients faster and more thoroughly, Duly Health and Care in suburban Lisle has a new Cardiac Evaluation Center with a new state-of-the-art CT scanner.

"At a fraction of a second, it's literally a quarter-second, basically to capture these images," said Dr. Evans Pappas, Chairman of Cardiovascular Services for Duly Health and Care.

The CardioGraphe – the first in the Midwest – snaps a picture between beats, creating a 3D model of what your heart looks like.

"We can see very obviously bright dense entity that’s right here blocking arteries. That’s calcium which is a component of plaque or blockage within the heart arteries," said Dr. Pappas.

Dr. Pappas says the information is more thorough than your average stress test, which he says is accurate only about 85 percent of the time.

"A CT scan, we'll see if there's a bad blockage of an artery, but it'll also tell us whether there's problems that are brewing that are not quite bad enough that would show up on us regular stress test," Dr. Pappas said.

Before you get scanned, they check blood pressure and start to decrease your heart rate.

53-year-old Craig Boldt is a patient. 

"They’ve been telling me to do it for a couple years," he said.

After you come in and they start to slow your heart rate, sometimes using medication, you are still fully clothed. You come to the CT Lab, you lay down and you are done in 10 minutes.

"There's an IV in place. Through the IV we inject some special medicine that lets us take pictures of the heart, what's called IV contrast. And we gather our images and it all happens in that fraction of a second," Dr. Pappas said.

"When the contrast goes in, it’s going to give you that warm feeling from head to toe ok? That’s normal," a nurse said.

They are looking for artery blockage and structural abnormalities and the results are immediate.

"Simply dropping the heart rate took a while, but actual procedure was minutes and effortless," Boldt said.


Dr. Pappas says the outpatient procedure is for anyone, but targets patients with heart-related issues.

"We can help take care of people with high blood pressure, people with heart rhythm issues, congestive heart failure, and particularly chest pain patients," Dr. Pappas said.

"This was a lot quicker and seemed easier and more relaxed," Boldt said.

Dr. Pappas says if a patient gets a "clear" scan, the data shows that death from a cardiac cause or heart attack in the next decade is less than a fraction of a percentage.