Beaumont hospitals offering free CT scans that can detect heart attack

Residents have their blood drawn for an antibody test for the coronavirus, also called a serology test, June 16, 2020 in Washington, DC (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

A Detroit-area cardiologist and his partners are donating free coronary calcium scans for first responders.

The Hearts for Heroes program is designed to help prevent heart attack deaths among police, firefighters and other first responders, according to Royal Oak-based Beaumont Health.

"They go from zero to 100 on their job, and if they have a problem, they can have a heart attack and die," said Beaumont Health interventional cardiologist Dr. Justin Trivax, who created the program.

The test itself takes about three minutes and involves a couple of deep breaths while under a CT scanner. The screening typically costs about $100 and is usually not covered by insurance.

The resulting scan shows the amount of buildup in the vessels that carry blood to the heart. That buildup can restrict or block flow in the vessels, or break off and cause a heart attack.

In April, 57 members of the Farmington Hills Fire Department were given the free screening. Other members of the fire department were expected to be screened Saturday.