When Advocate Sherman Hospital officials set out to promote Heart Month with special screenings in February, they didn't expect such an overwhelming response.
"Our screenings went like gangbusters," said Tonya Lucchetti-Hudson, director of public affairs and marketing.
All available appointments for the $170 heart and vascular screenings were booked a couple of days after a story featuring Kane County Coroner Rob Russell going through the screening appeared Saturday in the Daily Herald, she said.
"This was a good lesson for us," Lucchetti-Hudson said. "We've wanted for many years to be able to offer this screening package on a more regular basis and we needed to know that the demand is there. It appears that the demand is there, so we're looking at offering it more frequently."
The hospital had scheduled four dates with eight slots each through March, and when those filled up quickly it added nearly 50 slots, Lucchetti-Hudson said. After that, people were told no more sessions will be added, she said.
Russell found out his heart scan results were potentially problematic after going through the screening on Saturday. His goal was to inspire others to take charge of their health.
"I am ecstatic (about the response)," Russell said Thursday. "I would like for people not to be discouraged if they didn't get in. People die of this ailment all months of the year. If you haven't had it, just put it in your calendar to have it done."
Advocate Sherman will now offer a $159 screening on a limited basis year-round, mirroring the Heart Month promotion except for an EKG and on-site cardiologist, Lucchetti-Hudson said. There is also a $139 screening that doesn't include a CT scan, and CT scans for $85. Call 1-800-3 ADVOCATE for more information.
Other hospitals provide heart screenings, Russell pointed out. He suggested calling Provena Mercy Hospital in Aurora at (630) 801-2505, Delnor Community Hospital in Geneva at (630) 933-5000, or the Women's Heart Center at Presence St. Joseph Hospital in Elgin at (847) 931-5514.
People can also do online assessments at iheartadvocate.com, Lucchetti-Hudson said.
Most importantly, she said, people should see their doctor regularly, and take advantage of any free yearly wellness or biometric screening offered by their health plan.