Watch CBS News

In battle against heart disease, coronary heart CT scanning technology continues to improve with AI-assisted software

Coronary heart CT scanning technology continues to improve with AI-assisted software
Coronary heart CT scanning technology continues to improve with AI-assisted software 02:55

NEW YORK -- It is American Heart Month and many are raising awareness about a killer in this country: heart disease.

Technological advances are making it easier to spot heart conditions before they lead to heart attacks.

Norma McFadden of the Bronx is a heart disease survivor.

"I'm happy to be alive," she said.

READ MOREOn Call with Dr. Kumar: Understanding atrial fibrillation, or a-fib, and ways to prevent it

A U.S. Postal Service worker in her 50s, her condition went undiagnosed for a year.

"I would feel like I was going to pass out in the street," McFadden said. "I was going to another doctor ... and nothing was being done about it so I heard about Dr. Puma on the 'Breakfast Club.' Just listening to him on the 'Breakfast Club' I said, you know what? I'm gonna get the second opinion. And if it wasn't for Dr. Puma, I wouldn't be alive now."

READ MOREAmerican Heart Month: Yonkers woman grateful her sneaky symptoms were identified in time

Interventional cardiologist Dr. Joseph Puma is founder and president of Sorin Medical. He has helped pioneer coronary heart CT scanning technology that continues to improve with AI-assisted software.

"Our practice has actually been able to reduce by almost 50% the need for invasive heart catheterization or angiogram, reducing almost 50% the need to bring patients into the hospital to try and figure out if they have heart disease," Puma said.

A three-minute scan can show plaque and blockages before an invasive procedure. The scans uncovered what was causing McFadden's symptoms, first by mapping the arteries and revealing blockages. Then 3D imaging, assisted by AI, was used.

READ MOREBuffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin raises awareness for American Heart Month

The CTA first approach is gaining popularity and Dr. Puma said it is only the beginning.

"Nothing is going to stop progress now. Coronary CT scans are now so advanced they are the number one recommendation from the American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association. They are faster, cheaper, higher quality and more accurate with more detail information than nuclear stress testing, which has been the standard of care," Puma said. "If you are having any symptoms you're concerned about. If you have symptoms of chest discomfort, short of breath pressure in the chest, jaw discomfort, even if it goes away, then we want to look into it."

"Listen to your body," McFadden said.

McFadden did just that and became her own health advocate, searching for and finding the right doctor and the right technology to save her own life. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.