The Center for Heart and Vascular Wellness and Prevention

About the Dick Butkus Heart and Vascular Screening Program

Dick Butkus with St. Joseph Hospital President and Chief Executive Officer Steven C. Moreau outside the new Dick Butkus Heart and Vascular Screening Center at St. Joseph Hospital.

In August 2001, former Chicago Bears linebacker and Pro Football Hall of Famer Dick Butkus faced an opponent much more intimidating than any he had faced during his years in the NFL: calcium.

Despite being a model of health on the outside, a coronary calcium screening revealed that Dick had an alarming buildup of calcium in the walls of his coronary arteries – the arteries that supply blood to the heart. This condition (known as atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries) put Dick at high risk for a heart attack. Once named "The Most Feared Man in the Game" by Sports Illustrated, Dick was now facing a fear of his own.

"I thought it was a joke," recalls Dick, who had no symptoms, no family history of heart disease and no risk factors. St. Joseph Hospital Interventional Cardiologist Lawrence Santora, M.D., assured Dick it was no joke. The Electron Beam Computed Tomography (EBCT) heart scan clearly showed the dangerous build-up, which prompted further testing and immediate life-saving heart surgery at St. Joseph Hospital.

Today, Dick is actively involved in raising awareness about the benefits of coronary calcium screening and EBCT. The new Dick Butkus Heart and Vascular Screening Center at St. Joseph Hospital is one way he's hoping to help others overcome a powerful opponent: calcium buildup. Now he is committed to encouraging others to know their risk factors, get screened and lead a heart healthy lifestyle.

Interested in learning more about an EBCT heart scan? Call 1-855-BUTKUSD.