Sporting stars support simple heart test that can help save lives

A number of sporting stars have thrown their support behind a simple heart test that can help to save lives.

Venturi Cardiology in Warrington provides routine diagnostic cardiology services as well as CT calcium score heart tests, which take just minutes to do, and can reveal a person’s risk of heart disease.

Sporting stars including Martin Johnson, Robbie Fowler, Fabrice Muamba, Peter Scrivener and Neil Mellor have all had heart checks recently at the clinic.

Last week, England football legend, John Barnes and women’s rugby legend Anne Parsons both visited Venturi Cardiology for their CT calcium score test.

Heswall resident, John, 57, whose father had a triple heart bypass when he was 65, said, “I wasn’t worried about being tested because I don’t like to worry about anything, but information is so important.

“When you get to a certain age you notice a few niggles, but if you have the right information then you can do something about it. The calcium score test was very quick, I was only on the scanner for a couple of minutes and it was completely painless.

“Understanding what is going on in the arteries around your heart and how healthy your heart is paramount. Anyone can make lifestyle changes to their diet, exercise or general stress levels, but without that relevant information you are in the dark and you might not have the motivation to make those changes.

“I would recommend that everyone with concerns or any history of heart disease in their family, gets checked.”

Women’s rugby legend Anne Parsons visited Venturi Cardiology last week for a CT calcium score test.

Anne, 55, played in two Rugby World Cups (1994 and 1998) and was a prop for Ireland from 1993 to 1999, winning 26 caps. She also played Rugby for Imperial College (1984-1987) and then Wasps (1987-2000).

Despite her sporting success, she wanted to be sure that her heart was still in good health and booked in for a CT calcium score test. This non-invasive, painless test takes around 15 minutes and allows Venturi’s cardiologists to see the arteries around the heart.

Consultant preventative cardiologist Dr Scott Murray, one of the founders of Venturi Cardiology, said: “The CT calcium score test takes just minutes to do and is a really good way to look for any signs of plaque in the arteries which may lead to blockages.

“So much of our heart health is driven by what we eat, how we move and through lifestyle choices, all factors that are within our control.”

Anne, who has lived in London for 35 years but is looking to move back to the North West, got a result of zero and was able to walk out of the clinic with the peace of mind that her heart is in great shape

Anne said, “I juggled playing professional rugby with a full-time career in airline IT. I trained four to five evenings a week then played rugby at the weekends.

“In those days you could combine a career with playing sport at the highest level, which you can’t do today.

“It was a great period and I love the camaraderie, team spirit and the friends I made for life.

“I played at a time when rugby was moving from amateur to professional status and our health and fitness was monitored, but nowhere near the level of elite sport today. We had fitness, strength and speed tests but no health checks. You’d get some dietary advice but it wasn’t prescriptive or managed in any way.“

“As a former sportsperson, it’s easy to think that you remain fit and healthy however, as you get older, I think it is important to validate this and seek an expert opinion on your health.

“My health is good but it was great to get my heart tested at Venturi. It was the first time I’ve done something like this and the Calcium Score Test was very quick, efficient and well explained.

“It provides an excellent means of either validating that you remain fit and healthy or can highlight issues easily so that they can be addressed.”

Martin Johnson, regarded as one of England’s greatest rugby players, said, “I’m in my fifties so I’m in the male heart attack age risk category and it was great to come into Venturi Cardiology to get the heads up on how I am doing. The procedure was incredibly straightforward, simple and very easy to do.

“Taking care of yourself, and knowing how healthy your heart is, is massively important. That knowledge could help you prevent major issues in the future and possibly save your life – it’s that simple.”

Former professional footballer Robbie Fowler said, “As an elite footballer it was easy to take my health for granted, but when you finish you’re not as fit and healthy as you once were.

“I’ve got a young family and I want to spend as much time as possible with them. There’s a history of heart attacks in our family and it’s a wrecker that spoils lives.

“I’ve been on the end of that which is why it is so important to come to a place like Venturi Cardiology and get checked out. It only takes 15 minutes from start to finish and the peace of mind it gives you is brilliant.”

Image: John Barnes and Dr Thomas Heseltine of Venturi Cardiology

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