CAD (coronary artery disease or atherosclerosis) often starts as fatty substances that accumulate in the lining of one or more of the heart arteries. Over time, these deposits may become calcified (hardened with calcium). Angina (chest pain) can be caused by decreased blood flow through these hardened areas, restricting oxygen rich blood from reaching heart muscle. If these areas are not found and treated properly, the hardening could lead to a heart attack and other heart related problems.
What is Calcium Scoring?
Calcium scoring is a non-invasive outpatient test that can help determine the presence of CAD and identify heart attack risk. Very little preparation is needed, and testing typically takes less than 15 minutes without the need for an IV or medications.
What is the Process?
On the day of the test, a cardiac CT (scan of the heart) will capture detailed images of your heart and arteries. Using these images, our expert Radiologists can determine if you have any calcification (hardening) of the arteries, the location of these areas and the amount. All of this information will be used to determine your calcium “score”. With the help of this information, your physician can discuss your risks and develop a personalized plan of care, which may include dietary changes, the addition of other medications, or further testing.
Risk factors for CAD include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and smoking. Some people may experience chest pain, weakness, or shortness of breath that alerts them to the possibility of a heart problem. Others experience no symptoms at all. Speak with The Radiology Clinic about your specific risk factors and determine if calcium scoring is the right option for you.