Cardiac Calcium Scoring
Coronary artery disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. More Americans die of heart disease than all types of cancer combined. Recent studies have shown Cardiac Calcium Scoring to be a more powerful predictor of heart disease than cholesterol levels. Cardiac Calcium Scoring is a revolutionary procedure that reveals the amount of calcified plaque on the coronary arteries, an indicator of a person’s risk of heart attack, before symptoms begin to show.
What will the exam be like?
During Cardiac Calcium Scoring, patients lie comfortably on an imaging table and hold their breath for intervals of approximately 20 seconds while a CT scanner takes images of their coronary arteries. The non-contrast CT scan is fast, safe and accurate. After the exam, one of Hillsborough Radiology Centers’ Board certified radiologists reviews the images, looking for areas of arterial calcification, or “plaque” buildup. The total amount of “plaque” buildup the images reveal determines a patient’s overall cardiac risk, which is designated by a number called a Coronary Artery Calcium (CAC) score.
Who may benefit from Cardiac Calcium Scoring?
Anyone 40 years of age or older who is considered at risk for heart disease based on family history or personal history may benefit by having a screening exam. This includes you if you have:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Family history of heart disease
- History of smoking
- Sedentary or stressful lifestyle
- Overweight by 20% or more
If one or more of these factors applies to you, we encourage you to speak with your doctor about this screening procedure.
- Orthopedic hardware in the mid or lower thoracic spine
- No tobacco, coffee, caffeinated soda, or chocolate for 6 hours prior to the test.
- No vigorous exercise for 24 hours prior to the test.
- No gum chewing on the day of the test.
- Eat and take medications as normal.