Patients & Visitors

My Aspirus Story

Calcium score screening turns out to be the perfect gift for Hintz

Patient Name: Ron Hintz

On Valentine’s Day in 2011, Ron Hintz received an unexpected and unusual gift from Peg, his wife of 24 years. His gift was a cardiac calcium score screening at Aspirus.

“I noticed that he was becoming fatigued and short of breath, and I knew that like any typical guy, he would never go in and get checked out on his own,” Peg said. “I saw an ad for these screenings in the paper and I knew that if I bought it, he would go in and use it.”

While it wasn’t his favorite gift he had ever received, Ron went in for his screening. It took only about five minutes and consisted of being hooked up to a set of electrodes and undergoing a CT scan.

“I’ve always been athletic, but I just figured I had gotten a little older and out of shape, so I didn’t think I needed the test,” he said.

A couple days after his test, Ron received a call that he had failed miserably. He had a lot of calcium built up in the arteries in his heart. With such a large buildup of calcium, Ron was advised to undergo angioplasty at the Aspirus Heart & Vascular Institute soon to clear his arteries. Within two weeks of his initial calcium screening, doctors attempted angioplasty, but there was too much blockage, so Ron underwent quadruple bypass surgery the following week.

Following surgery, Ron was in the hospital only 36 hours before going home. He says his recovery went very smoothly in large part because he had the surgery before any damage occurred to his heart.

“With this screening, you don’t have to wait for a heart attack to know something is wrong,” said the 49-year-old Kronenwetter resident. “It’s actually a perfect test for guys because all you do is lay there, and it’s fast and you get your results quickly.”

Looking back, Ron knows now that family history likely played a large role in developing the blockages and that it didn’t necessarily matter how athletic or fit he thought he was. Had he not had the calcium screening, however, the avid outdoorsman may have found out the hard way while out hunting or fishing.

“Ron’s cardiologist told us that if he did not have a heart-related event by that fall, then something bad would have happened because of how much calcium he had built up,” Peg said. “I’m glad I got him the present so we can spend many more years together.”

Created: Feb 8, 2012

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