About The Open Hearts Project

Tim Hanley, underwent open heart surgery on March 11, 2018, for a Quadruple Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABGx4).  But Tim wasn’t experiencing any recognizable symptoms of heart disease.  He didn’t smoke, drink, or do drugs.  Neither of his parents, and none of his grandparents had ever had heart disease.  While he was slightly over weight, he wasn’t obese.  And, he had never been treated for high cholesterol. Tim did not fit into any of the known risk groups associated with Coronary Artery Disease.  But Tim learned that he was just steps away from a catastrophic heart attack.  As Tim recovered in the coronary care unit following his surgery, he decided that once he got back on his feet, he was going to photograph those who had undergone open heart surgery and tell their stories. He hoped to help others, who like himself might be unaware they have heart disease.  Within a couple of days of being home from the hospital, The Open Hearts Project was born.

But Tim learned that heart disease wasn’t limited to Coronary Artery Disease.  Increasing awareness also meant broadening his understanding of heart disease.  In addition to Coronary Artery Disease, he found Sudden Coronary Artery Dissection and Sudden Cardiac Arrest to be as serious, if not more serious than what he was experiencing.  All heart disease can be debilitating and deadly.  And that’s all the more reason to raise awareness.  We wouldn’t want to turn our backs on a crazy person with a gun because that crazy person with a gun poses a serious risk to our health. Likewise, we shouldn’t assume, as so many of us do, that heart disease will never happen to me.  The reality is, if you are standing with two of your close friends having a conversation about where your going to have lunch, you might just wonder, which one of you will die of heart disease.  The statistics say, one of you will.  For more information about heart disease, please visit The Open Hearts Project Video Library. Most of the videos are short.  One is a documentary about a test you may want to consider.  All the videos are educational.  Become informed. Don’t think it can’t happen to you. Don’t turn your back on the number one killer in America.

Do You Know Your Coronary Calcium Score?

There is probably no more effective tool in modern medicine that is less invasive when it comes to identifying Coronary Artery Disease than a coronary calcium scan.  In 2012, The Coronary Calcium Club finally won the endorsement of The American Heart Association, after 20 years of financial and political resistance. Yet, most of us remain unaware of this simple test, or know what to do to get one. Since it was first created, over 4.2 million Americans have dropped dead never realizing they had a heart problem.  Often the first symptom someone has of heart disease is a heart attack and 15% of those who suffer their first heart attack will die from it.  There is often no advanced warning, and few, if any symptoms.  A large percentage of heart attack deaths could be avoided by people having a Coronary Calcium Scan. 

Shortly after Bill Clinton left office, he had to undergo coronary bypass surgery.  Even though he had a coronary calcium scan, he boasted that he had passed his last five annual stress tests with flying colors. His calcium scan was ignored.  Now it is a requirement and considered a matter of National Security that all American Presidents have a coronary calcium scan.  NASA requires all astronauts entering the space program, to have a Coronary Calcium Score of Zero.  It seems that NASA doesn’t want to invest millions of dollars training an astronaut only to have him die in space while performing a routine mission. NASA has determined that the Coronary Calcium Scan if the best test to determine who is at risk. And more recently, the State of Texas has passed legislation requiring insurance companies to cover Coronary Calcium Scans for all resident males 45 years of age or old and all resident females 55 years of age or older.  The verdict is in. The debate is over.  People need to know their Coronary Calcium Scores.

Bellevue Medical Imaging performed my Coronary Calcium Scan, and they stated in their report that I needed to be “considered for a Catheter Angiography,” due to the extensive calcification found in my arteries.  I followed up with Dr. Ming Zhang, of Swedish Heart & Vascular, who agreed that I needed an Angiogram.  He explained that the Angiogram was the gold standard for identifying blockages.  Knowing my Coronary Calcium Score saved my life. Nearly 5-million, asymptomatic Americans, who have died since 1990, without warning or ever once knowing they had Coronary Artery Disease. Bellevue Medical Imaging and the Coronary Calcium Scan saved my life. I am attaching their brochure that you can download by clicking here. Cardiac score brochure $99.pub

For a complete history on the Coronary Calcium Scan and to better understand who could benefit from this simple exam, watch the video documentary from Widowmaker TV under the Video tab.

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