Cardiac Calcium Scoring at Wilton Medical Arts
Heart disease kills an estimated 630,000 Americans each year. It’s the leading cause of death for both men and women. In the United States, the most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease (CAD), which can lead to a heart attack.
Cardiac calcium scoring (also called coronary artery calcium scoring) is a type of CT scan that detects areas of hardening (calcification or plaque) in the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart. Normally, the coronary arteries do not contain plaque. Plaque deposits in the coronary arteries indicate the presence of coronary artery disease (CAD). Cardiac calcium scoring is used to diagnose CAD in an early stage and to determine its severity.
Why It Is Done
Cardiac calcium scoring is done as a screening test to:
- Diagnose early coronary artery disease (CAD)
- Determine the severity of CAD
How It Is Done
A cardiac calcium scoring test is a done by a radiologic technologist. The resulting images are interpreted by a radiologist. During the test, you will lie on your back on a table that is attached to the CT scanner. Small metal discs called electrodes will be attached to the skin on your chest. These are connected to an EKG display. The EKG records when your heart is in the resting stage, which is the best time for the CT scans to be taken.
When your heart is in the resting stage, you will be asked to hold your breath for 10 to 12 seconds while about 200 images of your heart are taken. It takes only about 5 minutes to obtain the heart images, but you should allow 15 minutes for the appointment.
The CT scanner at Wilton Medical Arts utilizes the newest technology in radiation dose reduction, resulting in quality images with reduced radiation exposure.
No tobacco, coffee, caffeinated soda, or chocolate for 6 hours prior to the test. No vigorous exercise for 24 hours prior to the test.
Eat and take medications as normal.
The radiologist will review your scan and your physician will receive a written report as well your cardiac score and your percentile ranking. Based on this information, your physician can determine if you are at risk for cardiac disease and if drug therapies and/or lifestyle changes are needed to lessen or prevent further progression of coronary artery disease.
|Cardiac calcium scoring|
|Presence of plaque|
|0||No evidence of plaque, which means there is less than a 5% chance that you have coronary artery disease (CAD).|
|1–10||A small amount of plaque is noted, which means there is less than a 10% chance that you have CAD.|
|11–100||Plaque is present, which means you have CAD, but you have only mild hardening in the coronary arteries.|
|101–400||Plaque is present in a moderate amount, which means you have CAD and plaque may be blocking an artery.|
|Over 400||Plaque is extensive, which means there is more than a 90% chance that plaque is blocking one of your coronary arteries.|
What to Think About
- Plaque that has not hardened (soft plaque) cannot be detected with cardiac calcium scoring. Soft plaque is the earliest form of calcium deposits in arteries.
- Cardiac calcium scoring is not done routinely. Men age 45 and older and women age 55 and older who have an increased risk for coronary artery disease (CAD) may want to have this test done. Younger adults may want to be tested only if they have a strong family history of heart disease.
- If your cardiac calcium scoring indicates that you have an increased risk for CAD, take measures to decrease your risk, such as eating a healthy diet, quitting smoking, and increasing your exercise. If you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, talk to your health professional about your treatment options.
- Cardiac calcium scoring is not covered by health insurance plans. Patients will be responsible for paying for this service at the time of their appointment.
How to set up an appointment
Contact Wilton Medical Arts at 518-580-2273 to schedule your appointment. Wilton Medical Arts is located at 3040 Route 50, Saratoga Springs, NY, which is about 1/2 mile north of Exit 15.