What Is Cardiac CT for Calcium Scoring?
Cardiac Computed Tomography (CT) for Calcium Scoring provides a noninvasive means of screening for coronary artery disease by looking for calcified plaque in the coronary arteries, the arteries which supply blood to the heart muscle. This exam identifies the presence or absence of calcified plaque and the location and extent of disease presented as a “score”. Generally, the more calcified plaque that is present, the greater the likelihood of significant coronary artery disease.
This test does not require any IV or injection of contrast material. The CT scanner uses a rapidly rotating x-ray tube and detectors (computed tomography or “Cat Scan”) to generate detailed images of the coronary arteries. Using sophisticated software, images are processed for examination by a board-certified radiologist (MD or DO) and a score is assigned. This information helps the patient’s primary care provider or cardiologist determine whether an adverse coronary event (such as a heart attack or cardiac arrest) is very unlikely or if further testing, monitoring, and treatment is needed.
The exam takes approximately 20 minutes.
Who Can Benefit From Coronary CT for Cardiac Scoring?
Your doctor or primary care provider may recommend a CT Coronary Calcium Score if you have any of the following risk factors for coronary artery disease:
- Overweight or obese
- Heart disease or heart attacks run in your family
- High blood pressure (Hypertension)
- High cholesterol
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Smoking history
Preparing for Cardiac CT for Calcium Scoring
- No special preparation is necessary.
- Continue to take your approved medications.
- Avoid caffeine and smoking for four hours prior to the exam.
- Wear loose comfortable clothing. You may be asked to wear a gown during the exam.
- Metal objects can affect the CT images. Leave items such as jewelry, eyeglasses, dentures, removable dental work, hearing aides, and hairpins, at home or remove them. You may also be asked to remove hearing aids and removable dental work.
- You may be asked to remove piercings.
- Women should remove bras with metal underwire.
- Women should always inform their physician and our CT technologist if they are possibly pregnant.