Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center now offers cardiac CT scans,
which can help doctors detect or evaluate heart disease. This imaging
test uses X-rays to take many detailed pictures of the heart and blood
vessels. Computers can combine these pictures to create a 3-D image of
There are two main types of cardiac CT: coronary calcium scoring and coronary
A cardiac CT for calcium scoring, also known as a heart scan, is a simple,
painless screening test. A heart scan looks for calcium in the walls of
the coronary arteries, the vessels that supply oxygen-rich blood to the
heart. The amount of calcium found on this scan helps identify a patient’s
risk for coronary artery disease.
Coronary CT angiography (angiogram) looks at the arteries that supply blood
to the heart and can be used to diagnose the cause of chest pain or other
symptoms. This test requires physician consultation because a contrast
dye is injected into the patient’s veins and medication is usually
prescribed to slow the heart rate to produce a clearer image on the scan.
“Upgrading our CT scanner to provide cardiac diagnostic studies is
an important step in providing more comprehensive cardiology services
locally,” said hospital CEO Bob Morasko.
The hospital purchased the new CT scanner to replace the CT scanner installed
in 2003. In addition to offering cardiac capabilities, the new scanner
provides enhanced image quality and reduces a patient’s exposure
A $200,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) and
proceeds from the HRRMC Foundation’s 2016 Jewel Ball helped pay
for the new scanner, which cost $605,000.
HRRMC has been expanding its cardiac services over the past year. James
Schmidt, M.D., an interventional cardiologist from Colorado Springs Cardiologists,
began seeing patients full time in Chaffee County in the summer of 2016.
Pamela Taylor, M.D., and Derrick Fansler, M.D., of Colorado Springs Cardiologists,
provide coverage when Dr. Schmidt is not available.
The new CT scanner offers the cardiologists an important tool for diagnosing
heart disease and enables patients to schedule tests locally rather than
traveling to the Front Range.
To schedule a cardiac CT scan at HRRMC, with a doctor’s order, call