Cardiac Calcium Scoring

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Cardiac Calcium Scoring

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. While “heart disease” is a broad term used for a wide variety of diseases of the heart and blood vessels, one particularly common and dangerous condition is coronary artery disease, also called coronary heart disease.

How Does Cardiac Calcium Scoring Help?

A Cardiac CT Calcium Scoring can help determine your risk of coronary artery disease or heart attack.

The test uses computer tomography (CT) to check for the buildup of calcium in plaque on the walls of the arteries of the heart. It checks for heart disease in an early stage and to determine how severe it is.

A CT scan produces images of your internal organs that are more detailed than those produced by conventional X-rays. With Cardiac CT Calcium Scoring, calcium deposits will show up as bright white spots on the scan. The more coronary calcium on the scan means there’s more coronary atherosclerosis, which means there’s a greater chance of significant narrowing in the coronary system and, thus, a higher risk of cardiovascular events in the future.

The amount of calcium in plaques is taken into consideration and, when combined with other health information such as family history, your health history, personal risk factors, and more, is used to calculate a score to determine your risk of coronary artery disease or heart attack.

What Does My Score Mean?

A negative cardiac CT score, or a calcium score of 0, shows no calcification with your coronary arteries. That means your risk of a heart attack within the next two to five years is very low. A positive score means that coronary artery disease is present, even if there are no symptoms present yet. The amount of calcification found in the scans helps determine the chances of a heart attack in the future.

Like screenings for other serious heart conditions, Cardiac CT Calcium Scoring does not serve as a treatment for coronary artery disease. But the score from the test helps your healthcare providers determine what measures you should take to lower your risk of a cardiac event in the future, including changes in diet, physical activity, other lifestyle choices and preventive medicine.

What’s Involved in the Test?

The test is noninvasive and it only takes a few seconds. You’ll lie on a table with a couple electrodes attached to your chest – they’re just small, sticky discs. The table will slide into the CT scanner to create the images of your heart and arteries. You may be asked to hold your breath for a few seconds so technicians can get clear images of your heart. After a few minutes, your doctor or technician will have a score to help estimate your heart attack risk.

Schedule a Cardiac Calcium Scoring Today

To request an appointment with a cardiovascular physician or for a non-invasive cardiac test at a Crozer Health facility, please complete the online secure appointment form below or call 1-866-95-PULSE (1-866-957-8573). A representative will get back to you within the next business day. We regret that we cannot take appointment requests for pediatric patients at this time.

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