Coronary Calcium Scan
Cardiac computed tomography (CT) uses special X-ray imaging equipment for coronary arteries to determine whether they are blocked or narrowed by plaque buildup – an indicator of atherosclerosis or coronary artery disease. The information obtained can help you assess whether you have an increased risk of heart attack.
Tell your doctor if there is a possibility that you are pregnant and talk about recent illnesses, health conditions, medications you are taking and allergies. You will be required not to eat or drink anything and to avoid caffeine and smoking for four hours before CT. Leave jewelry at home and wear loose, comfortable clothes. You may be required to wear a dress.
What is Calcium Score Scan
Cardiac MSCT for calcium score is a non-invasive way to obtain information about the presence, location and extent of calcified plaque in the coronary arteries – vessels that supply the heart muscle with blood that contains oxygen. Calcified plaque occurs when fat and other substances accumulate under the inner layer of the artery. This material can calcify, signaling the presence of atherosclerosis, a disease of the vessel wall, also called coronary artery disease. People with this disease have an increased risk of heart attack. In addition, over time, plaque can narrow arteries or even block blood flow to the heart. The result can be chest pain, sometimes called “angina” or a heart attack.
The amount of calcium detected on cardiac CT is a useful prognostic tool. Findings on cardiac CT are expressed as a result of calcium. Another name for this test is the calcium score in the coronary arteries.
What is the goal of the calcium score analysis?
The goal of a heart scan for calcium score is to determine if and to what extent coronary artery disease is present, even if there are no symptoms.
The main risk factors for coronary artery disease are:
- high blood cholesterol
- family history of heart disease
- high blood pressure
- cigarette smoking
- overweight or obesity
- physical inactivity
Who interprets the results of the calcium score?
A radiologist, a doctor specially trained to monitor and interpret radiological examinations, will analyze the recordings. The radiologist will send an official report to the doctor who ordered the examination.
Negative CT of the heart for calcium scoring does not show calcification within the coronary arteries. This suggests that coronary artery disease is not present or is minimal. The chance of having a heart attack over the next two to five years is very small in these circumstances.
A positive calcium test means that coronary artery disease is present, regardless of whether the patient has any symptoms or not. The amount of calcification – expressed as a result of calcium – can help predict the likelihood of myocardial infarction (heart attack) in the coming years and help your doctor or cardiologist decide if a patient will need to take preventative medication or take other measures such as diet and exercise. reducing the risk of heart attack.
Advantages of the test for determining the calcium score
- Cardiac CT for calcium assessment is an appropriate and non-invasive way to assess whether there is a risk of heart attack.
- The test is short, painless and does not require injection of contrast material.
- No radiation remains in the patient’s body after CT examination.
Risks of coronary calcium scan
- There is always a small chance of developing cancer due to excessive radiation exposure. However, the benefits of an accurate diagnosis far outweigh the risks.
- The effective radiation dose for this procedure varies.
- Women should always tell their doctor and X-ray technician if there is a chance they are pregnant.
- CT scans are generally not recommended for pregnant women unless this is medically necessary because of the potential risk to the unborn baby.
- High calcium levels can sometimes be accompanied by other diagnostic tests for heart disease, which may or may not give results with clinical value and may be associated with side effects.