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New Diagnostics at MRMC

Posted on Thursday, November 30, 2023 at 6:30 pm

COLUMBIA, Tenn. — Maury Regional Medical Center (MRMC) has a new diagnostic exam available to help identify blockages in coronary arteries that, if left untreated, could lead to a heart attack.

Patients at the medical center now have the option to undergo a coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA), a noninvasive test that gives physicians a detailed 3D image of the coronary arteries to show abnormalities in blood flow, such as blockages.

“We’re proud to offer this new, vitally important exam to our patients at Maury Regional Medical Center as we continue our commitment to providing proactive, state-of-the-art heart attack care,” said Maury Regional Health CEO Martin Chaney, MD. “We encourage everyone to make themselves aware of the signs of heart attack and seek medical attention immediately if you’re experiencing any symptoms.”

CCTA is generally ordered for patients under 65 years of age who are showing initial symptoms of heart attack but have no prior history of coronary artery disease or who have unclear findings from a stress test. In certain cases, it may be considered for patients who have previously experienced heart attack, undergone coronary stent placement or had coronary artery bypass surgery.

Additionally, patients who are candidates for CCTA typically have a body mass index of less than 40, and they must be able to take beta blockers prior to the exam. A physician’s order is required.

“CCTA is one of our best tools to identify if blockages in the coronary arteries are present and their severity. It’s important to identify these blockages as quickly as possible in order to provide the most effective treatment,” said Jessica Joseph-Alexis, DO, a specialist in cardiology associated with Vanderbilt Heart-Columbia who spearheaded the program at MRMC. “The test has been given a Class 1 recommendation, the strngest recommendation for a medical test, meaning it has clinical trial evidence proving it is highly effective and beneficial for patients.”

During a CCTA, an iodine dye is injected intravenously to brighten the patient’s coronary arteries before X-rays are taken. The dye helps make blockages and other abnormalities more visible.

After the exam, readings are interpreted by members of MRMC’s medical staff to determine if the heart attack symptoms are being caused by a narrowing of the coronary arteries and the severity of any blockages. The results are then shared with the patient’s physician.

It’s important to call 911 immediately if early signs of heart attack are present, including chest discomfort, discomfort in other parts of the upper body (arm, jaw, back or neck), shortness of breath, unusual fatigue, nausea, light-headedness or cold sweat.

Maury Regional Medical Center is southern Middle Tennessee’s only Heart Center, offering a team of physicians who provide an array of cardiac services that include interventional procedures as well as pacemaker and defibrillator implants. In addition to CCTA for those experiencing early signs of heart attack, Maury Regional Health also offers wellness screenings to detect vascular blockages and abdominal aortic aneurysm without a physician’s order.

The medical center has been recognized as a Chest Pain Center with PCI by the American College of Cardiology and holds certification in the treatment of heart failure from The Joint Commission.

For more information on heart services offered at MRMC, visit