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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

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    Beaumont initiative offers free heart screenings to first responders

    Firefighter George Baker’s family has a history of heart problems. So, when the Farmington Hills Fire Department offered him a free coronary screening in December, he took it. By April, 61-year-old Baker was on the operating table for open-heart surgery.

    “I’ve been under the care of a cardiologist for three decades, and they never identified this (issue),” Baker said. “And after one test, I knew everything I need to know. And when I got the numbers, I was scared.”

    Baker’s screening showed he had more blockage and buildup than 98% of people his age. Now, he can continue to stay active and hike. But, most important said Baker: He is alive. 

    The free coronary artery calcium scoring screenings, offered to the Farmington Hills fire and police departments by Dr. Justin Trivax, are the result  of a partnership with Beaumont Health.

    (L to R) Dr. Justin Trivax talks with Farmington Hills Fire Department staff lieutenant Dennis Firment, 44 on Aug. 14, 2021. Firment came to see Trivax who started at the insistence of his daughter's "Hearts for Heroes" as a way to thank First Responders for heart screenings.

    The screening, which often  costs about $100 and is not usually covered  by insurance, finds a lot of abnormalities that require follow-ups, even in young and otherwise healthy individuals, Trivax said.

    “It’s interesting, we find that the people who you least expect it do have coronary artery calcification,” Trivax said. “We’re finding incidental things as well, such as pulmonary nodules. We’re finding fatty liver disease in a lot of police and fireman. This is just a test that isn’t typical, but it should be.”

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