Dr. James Naidich Was Helping Test Equipment When He Learned Scary Truth

MANHASSET, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A new high-tech heart scanner is being credited with saving a life, and, surprisingly, it’s the life of a doctor, who was simply testing out the new equipment.

Dr. James Naidich, a radiologist, has been seeing patients at North Shore University Hospital for decades, but he recently became a patient when asked if he would help test the hospital’s new 3-D CT scan.

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“I agreed to do it,” Dr. Naidich told CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff on Thursday.

His results were alarming. The CT scan showed the three main arteries to his heart were severely blocked.

“This is called a myocardial infarction, a heart attack, and [it] can kill you,” Naidich said.

Now Dr. Naidich is the grateful recipient of four stents that opened his clogged arteries, and he’s crediting the $2.5 million scanner with saving his life. It’s called the 640 Slice CT scanner and it provides 3-D image of the entire heart in one beat. Doctors liken it to slicing a loaf of bread. Conventional, higher radiation CT scans give a 64-slice view.

“If you cut the loaf into 640 slices it would be very, very thin slices, which would allow you to see very fine abnormalities,” North Shore-LIJ cardiologist Dr. Stanley Katz said.

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The 640 Slice scanner is installed in North Shore’s emergency room  to screen patients with chest pain.

“I think, I hope, I pray that I have been very lucky and that I have not had a heart attack that was really impending,” Dr. Naidich said.

The cost of the scan is around $500 per patient. The medical community is now debating whether it is worth that cost and the low-dose radiation to screen patients much like we do with mammograms and colonoscopies.

The scanner is one of three in the nation, and the only one in the Northeast, Gusoff reported.

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