A cardiologist consultant says Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is likely going to California to take important tests to determine whether he will need heart surgery.
The tests will determine whether Rowley will need invasive surgery or be prescribed something as simple a dosage of medication like aspirin.
The diagnosis will determine the level of plaque build-up in his coronary artery – mild 30%, moderate 31%-69%, severe– 70% and over.
On Sunday, Rowley announced he will leave for California, United States today where he will undergo a series of coronary tests and observation.
Rowley said in 2016 he subjected himself to a coronary test which revealed a soft plaque in one of the arteries, but a subsequent test in 2017 showed it had grown quite significantly.
The cardiologist consultant, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the individual involved, said doctors in California will seek to determine whether Rowley is at risk of a heart attack.
The tests, the consultant says, will show what state the plaque is in as they will have “different properties.” He likens the build up of plaque to cement.
When it is being mixed, it is pliable and formable, but if it remains for a protracted period it becomes stiff or hard. “Similarly that process occurs,” he explained. “Usually when the plaque is more calcified it tends to be more difficult to treat.”
Both soft and calcified plaque can precipitate heart attacks, therefore “the big concern here is he is going for further testing and evaluation to see if he is at risk of pre-heart attack.”
The cardiologist consultant explains once it is caught early, the trajectory can change.
Risk factors include gender, age, whether someone is diabetic, suffers from high blood pressure and bad cholesterol.
He also notes that “issues like chronic stress can be a risk factor for a heart attack.”