Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring
High blood pressure. High cholesterol. A family history of heart disease. Stress. Many factors can put you at risk for coronary artery disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.
Cardiac calcium scoring is a simple, painless diagnostic tool that identifies early heart disease by measuring calcium within the coronary arteries. This procedure is also fast, risk free and inexpensive. The presence of calcium in the arteries predicts heart disease more accurately than cholesterol screening, and allows for early treatment and possible prevention of serious consequences such as heart attack or stroke.
Healthy arteries, which supply blood to the heart, do not contain calcium. Its presence is an indication of disease within the arteries, and can contribute to higher risk of heart attack.
Cardiac calcium scoring uses a computed tomography (CT) scan - a type of x-ray - to identify calcium on the walls of the coronary arteries. The CT scan takes pictures of the heart in thin sections; our on-site radiologists interpret the presence of calcium from these images.
Generally, calcium scoring is used to evaluate men over the age of 45 and women over the age of 55, as well as people with a strong family history of heart disease. Patients who have experienced a heart attack or coronary artery bypass surgery or who may be pregnant are not good candidates for the test. The test is non-invasive and painless, and can be completed in less than thirty minutes.