This health video is looking at how a 5-minute heart exam could diagnose a major problem.
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Jennifer Matthews: In five minutes, this patient will know what the inside of her heart looks like. Dr. Delores Valari: If there's calcified plaque, you can't miss it. It shows up and it's very distinct on the scan. Jennifer Matthews: This electron beam c-t scans ten times faster than other ct scans. It visually slices the body apart like a loaf of bread. Dr. Dolores Valari: We're at the very top of their heart, this is their descending aorta. And the little white specks we see in it are calcified plaque. Jennifer Matthews: Leslie Scott was scanned after his twin brother suffered a heart scare. Leslie's scan showed plaque buildup. Leslie Scott: I was, I guess, a little bit astonished at the beginning. Jennifer Matthews: A low cholesterol diet, medication and a little exercise will keep him healthy. Leslie Scott: I feel energetic. I feel like I'm in good health. Cardiologist Pradip Jamnadas says stress tests can only detect blockages when they reach seventy or eighty percent. These scans can pick up any hard plaque. Dr. Pradip Jamnadas: If you look to see which blockages in an artery go on to suddenly cause a heart attack, it is the ones that are between 40 and 70 percent. Jennifer Matthews: There are about a hundred of these scanners in the us. Most are at independent outpatient centers and market directly to the consumer -- a reason many doctors question it. Dr. Pradip Jamnadas: Had it just been introduced through regular medical facilities, under the auspices of medical clinics, I think this technology would have really picked up much faster. Jennifer Matthews: Despite concerns, research shows the test can detect heart disease, lung tumors and colon polyps. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.