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Fund Helps Provide for Calcium CT Scoring

Fayetteville, Ga. (Dec. 20, 2021) – Christine and David Baum had known each other for 42 years, and been married for 39, when David had a major heart attack. The couple had been exercising at their home in Florida and Christine performed CPR on her husband for eight minutes before paramedics arrived. Although they were able to get his heartbeat back, David sustained a significant amount of brain damage and passed away three months later.

“My family was devastated and we wanted to do something positive to honor David and honor God,” Christine said. “This was totally preventable. David had a calcium score screening performed several years before, but the results were lost. After his death, we found that the results suggested he would have a major cardiac event within five years. His heart attack took place four years after having the scan done.”

Also known as a coronary calcium scan or calcium CT scoring, this non-invasive test uses a computed tomography (CT) scan to look for calcium buildup on the artery walls. Based on the amount of calcium build up, each patient is given a score. Typical scores range from zero to over 400. A “zero” calcium score is great news and indicates no evidence of coronary artery disease whereas a score greater than 400 indicates significant plaque which could require a more aggressive treatment plan. Physicians review the risk results and, if necessary, help develop a plan to prevent developing heart disease or increasing a patient’s risk of a heart attack.

Christine and her children decided to establish The David A. Baum Foundation and their goal would be to use the funds to focus on education and prevention around cardiovascular disease. One way to aid in prevention is to make the calcium score screening accessible to people who are uninsured or underinsured. When Christine mentioned the foundation to Jaime Burkle, M.D., a cardiologist with Piedmont Heart Institute in Atlanta, he thought it was an amazing act of generosity, one that would undoubtedly make a positive difference in the lives of others.

Christine connected with the Piedmont Healthcare Foundation and Piedmont’s director of Cardiovascular Services. It was decided that The David A. Baum Foundation would contribute to a new fund established by the Piedmont Healthcare Foundation for calcium scan support. Piedmont is already in the process of identifying patients in need of assistance to have this screening done.

“This scan is a non-invasive way to see how much plaque build-up there is in the arteries of the heart,” said Nimish Dhruva, M.D., a cardiologist with Piedmont Heart Institute. “It is a three-minute scan with low radiation and it is a game changer. It can really incentivize you to make those lifestyle changes you know you need to make.”

For more information on scheduling a Calcium Scoring CT, visit piedmont.org/heart. If you would like to support the calcium scan support fund, visit piedmont.org/give.

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