Avera Medical Minute: Planet Heart screenings catch silent killer

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (DAKOTA NEWS NOW) - Neil Krogmann takes safety very seriously. As a Sands drywall safety officer, it's his job. "You gotta make sure everybody goes home safe every night; hardhats, safety glasses, high visibility vests or whatever. And then I check on our equipment, make sure everything's up to snuff," said Krogmann.

planet heart screening

While he's traveling to the job sites in the region ensuring employees are protected from harm, Neil's boss wants the staff's health protected as well. That's why he provides free Avera Planet Heart screening to his employees. Neil's results did require follow up care," said Krogmann.

"I had some blockage in my carotid artery, and then before I do the carotid procedure, they recommended I go to a heart specialist and have my heart checked out. I've had the angiogram for the heart. Passed that, so now I've got to schedule for the carotid," said Krogmann.

He knew there was some blockage, from a test a few years ago, but not to this extent.

"Through the planet heart system, they told me I had 70 percent, so I've got to get it fixed," said Krogmann.

A blocked carotid artery could lead to a stoke. Thankfully, the planet heart screening caught it before things got worse.

A planet Heart evaluation includes a calcium score cat scan, determining hardened plaque, blood pressure, BMI, cholesterol and blood sugar check, as well as screenings for carotid artery, aortic aneurism, and an ankle-brachial, which tests for blood flow.

Avera nurse Andrea Engbarth says it was good Neil came in. "He was one of the people where we found some blockage there; a lot of significant plaque, and we do find that in about 25 percent of the cases. So we can catch some of the cases early where we can get people to where they need to go before a life-altering event can happen," said Engbarth.

Heart Hospital staff can offer advice on diet, medications, and lifestyle for a heart-healthy future. "Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in the United States and so if we can do any kind of prevention, what can we catch very early on," said Engbarth.

Education is important, like how exercise increases HDL...the good cholesterol. "And our HDL can actually scoop the soft plaque out of the vessel before it turns to hard plaque," said Engbarth.

Neil and his co-workers have peace of mind for the future, thanks to the gift of a planet heart screening from their employer.

"I commend Greg Sands for what he does for all of his people. You couldn't find a better boss," said Krogmann.

"Without employees, you can't have any success in your business so they've really shown that their employees are what matters," said Engbarth.