The Test That Saved Tim Simpson

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(Memphis) Some people are blessed with good health.

They don't need to take pills or medicines, and pass physicals with flying colors.

Our own Tim Simpson fell into that category, until six weeks ago when he started having chest pains.

With a history of heart disease in his family, he knew there was no time to waste.

He took a simple test that ended up saving his life, and it could save yours.

Simpson lost his brother and mother to cancer, and his father and grandparents all succumbed to heart disease.

While living his life to the fullest, health concerns were never a priority.

But when tightness in his chest came in February and he felt fatigued for much of the days, Simpson needed answers.

Dr. Bill Russo, a specialist at Stern Cardiovascular Clinic in Germantown, showed Tim and his wife an image of his heart, complete with a critical buildup of plaque, caused by cholesterol, high blood pressure and other factors.

What gave him the image: a heart calcium scan.

A test that's not invasive, with no shots, no I-V's and just a few electrodes attached to his chest.

That image suggested Simpson would be the perfect candidate for heart catherization surgery.

What it does is use balloon angioplasty and stents to open clogged arteries surrounding the heart.

The images of Tim's heart, "before and after," made him realize just how close he came to heart failure.

It also came with a price: change your lifestyle or fall back into the same situation.

Now, Tim has to cut out high-cholesterol and most fried foods.

The test is only $80, but it's not for everyone.

Those above a certain age, with a history of heart problems, high blood pressure or high cholesterol could benefit from the test.

Consult your physician before having any tests done.