WHAT IS A CALCIUM SCORING CT?
Calcium scoring is a screening exam that measures the amount of calcium in arteries. The amount of calcium build-up present in the arteries determines if a patient has coronary artery disease (CAD), even without symptoms. Radiologists and doctors also determine the extent and stage of CAD using calcium scores. This exam uses a computed tomography (CT) scan to create images of the heart and arteries.
What is coronary artery disease (CAD)?
Coronary artery disease—or CAD—is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Arteries supply blood to the heart. When cholesterol and plaque (calcium deposits) build-up in the arteries, they can harden and narrow over time. This blocks blood flow to the heart, which can lead to heart attacks and permanent heart damage. CAD can also cause the heart to weaken, which can lead to heart failure or arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms).
Who should get a calcium scoring CT?
If a patient is at risk for developing coronary artery disease, they should have a calcium score study. You might have an increased chance of CAD if you have one or more of the following risk factors:
- High blood cholesterol level
- Family history of heart attack
- High blood pressure
- Cigarette smoking
- Obesity or physical inactivity
How to prepare for a calcium scoring CT
Typically, no special preparation is required for a cardiac calcium scoring CT. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when preparing for your study, including:
- Bring your insurance card and photo identification
- On the day of your exam, wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing
- Avoid clothing with metal zippers, hair pins, jewelry and snaps
- Drink plenty of clear fluids, but do not eat solid food for 3 hours before the examination
- Patients scheduled for abdominal and/or pelvic studies should arrive 30 minutes early to drink oral contrast material used to better visualize the stomach and intestines
- Take your usual medications
- Always inform your technologist or doctor if you are pregnant or could be pregnant
Optimal Imaging is proud to offer cardiac calcium scoring for $90.00. To schedule your appointment today, find a location near you.
What to expect
A CT examination usually takes about five to ten minutes. The technologist will ask you to lay on the CT table and help position you based on your study. You will be alone in the room during your scan; however, the technologist can see, hear and speak with you at all times.
When your examination is over, you may resume your normal daily activities unless otherwise instructed by your doctor. One of our board-certified radiologists will review the images and send a report to your doctor.