Did you know that every 40-seconds someone suffers a heart attack? Did
you know that someone dies every four minutes from a heart attack? The
chances of a heart attack occurring can be reduced, if not prevented all
together; it can be done. And, it begins with a simple, non-invasive,
potentially life-saving screening being offered at Harlingen Medical Center,
one of the top-rated hospitals for cardiovascular care in the country.
Preventative Vascular Screening, is a limited special engagement that is being offered at the award-winning
and nationally recognized hospital during the month of February, National
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than
500,000 heart attacks occur each year and 75% can be prevented with the
utilization of an ultrasound screening and proper physician follow-up.
“That is why we are offering the
Preventative Vascular Screening. This will allow our MRI Technologists to perform a simple, but highly
effective analysis on the Carotid Artery, Abdominal Aorta, and Peripheral
Arteries,” said Roy Castillo, Director of the Radiology and Imaging
Department at Harlingen Medical Center. “This screening will allow
our team to identify any issue that needs to be addressed, giving us the
opportunity to care for the patient, in advance, before the issue develops
into an urgent medical condition, or worse.”
Preventative Vascular Screening, an MRI Technologist will first screen the carotid artery for buildup
of fatty plaque. Left untreated, the fatty plaque may lead to a stroke,
also known as a brain attack. A stroke occurs when plaque stops the flow
of blood to the brain or when a blood vessel in or around the brain bursts.
The MRI Technologist will then screen the abdominal aorta. This will search
the aortic artery for the presence of an aneurysm, also known as an enlargement,
which occurs when part of the artery wall weakens and widens abnormally,
or balloons out. Left untreated, a ruptured aneurysm may lead to instant death.
Finally, the MRI Technologist will screen the peripheral arteries for plaque
buildup in the lower extremities (legs). Left untreated, the plaque may
lead to the development of Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), also known
as atherosclerosis. PAD is also known to cause and possibly more serious
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those who
survive a heart attack sometimes do so with lasting consequences. Some
of these life-changing consequences include:
- Paralysis or weakness on one side of the body.
- Problems with thinking, awareness, attention, learning, judgment and memory.
- Problems understanding or forming speech.
- Difficulty controlling or expressing emotions.
- Numbness of strange sensations.
- Pain in the hands and feet.
“A medical episode, such as a heart attack, may not only affect someone
who is older in age – it may also affect younger adults,”
said Jorge Gomez, RN, Trauma and Stroke Programs Coordinator at Harlingen
Medical Center. “People need to know what the symptoms are in case
they, or someone they know, or see, begin to experience them.”
According to Gomez, everyone should know some of the more common symptoms
of a stroke, which, include:
- Numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on the side of the body.
- Confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding.
- Trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
- Trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance and coordination.
- Severe headaches with no known cause.
“It is so important that people waste no time when they suffer a
stroke. They must receive medical attention immediately,” said Gomez.
“Receiving medical attention immediately is crucial to saving the
patient’s life and crucial to preventing a disability for those
who survive. 9-1-1 must be dialed immediately.”
There are minor changes people can make to their daily lifestyle, according
to Gomez, that can help prevent a heart attack and or a stroke. Some of
these lifestyle changes include:
- Exercising regularly.
- Eating a healthy diet that’s low in sodium.
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Prevent or control diabetes.
- Minimize your alcohol intake.
Preventative Vascular Screening is quick and easy. It can be completed during a lunch break from work.
This, again, is a non-invasive screening. It is completed by the scanning
of the skin in the respective areas. All three vascular screenings are
performed at the Radiology and Imaging Department at Harlingen Medical
Center, located at 5501 S. Expressway 77 in Harlingen, Texas. The cost
of the vascular screening is a nominal $139.00. Cash and credit cards
are accepted. Medical insurance companies usually do not cover the cost
of this screening.
If you would like to register for the
Preventative Vascular Screening, please contact the Scheduling Department at Harlingen Medical Center
at (956) 365-1839.
About the Cardiovascular Care Program at HMC
The Cardiovascular Care Program at Harlingen Medical Center is paving the
way for progressive treatment of patients from across South Texas. We
specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease, and
our top-ranked heart team provides minimally-invasive diagnostic testing
and treatment, as well as advanced cardiac and vascular interventions,
such as angioplasty, stenting, cardiac ablation, open heart surgery, minimally
invasive heart valve repair and replacement, and coronary artery bypass graft.
To learn more about this program and Harlingen Medical Center, log on
to our website at