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News from 2011

Predicting Heart Attacks
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Media Contact Information:
Alicia Gonzalez
(818) 409-6604
or (818) 800-3113
gonzala1@ah.org

GLENDALE, CA – What if there was a doctor who could look inside your heart and tell you if or when you were going to have a heart attack?

Specializing in a branch of medicine known as nuclear cardiology, Gerald Pohost, MD, medical director of the Outpatient Cardiac Imaging Center at Glendale Adventist Medical Center can. Using devices that detect radioactive material (such as a PET scanner) Dr. Pohost can produce images of the heart that can then be superimposed with images from a CT scanner or MRI, providing a clearer more accurate picture of the function and structure of the heart.

“The technology for imaging the heart is not new,” says Dr. Pohost. “But combining the uses of these powerful machines enhances our ability to predict heart attacks or diagnose and determine the severity of heart disease.”

With decades of experience, Dr. Pohost is one of the foremost authorities on cardiac nuclear imaging. He has developed well-known cardiovascular MRI programs at several universities and medical institutions, including the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Harvard Medical School and USC’s Keck School of Medicine. He is also involved in several National Institutes of Health research projects, including diagnosing heart disease in women and better understanding heart disease in people with diabetes.

Dr. Pohost uses nuclear imaging:

  • to visualize blood flow patterns to the heart walls, called a myocardial perfusion scan
  • to evaluate the presence and extent of suspected or known coronary artery disease
  • to determine the extent of injury to the heart following a heart attack, or myocardial infarction
  • to evaluate the results of bypass surgery or other procedures designed to restore blood supply to the heart
  • in conjunction with an electrocardiogram (ECG), to evaluate heart-wall movement and overall heart function

The best candidates for cardiac imaging studies are those who are already experiencing symptoms of heart disease (chest pain, shortness of breath, etc.) or those who are at high risk, such as people for whom heart disease runs in the family.

“The value in nuclear cardiology is its ability to diagnose and predict,” says Dr. Pohost. “A person whose imaging shows that a heart attack is in their future can prevent that heart attack from ever happening through lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, losing weight, exercising, and getting cholesterol levels and blood pressure under control.”

To learn about the Cardiac Imaging Center, call (818) 409-8100 or visit the website.