WHAT IS A CT HEART SCORE?
A noninvasive test that uses 128 Slice low- radiation-dose spiral CT scan technology. This simple scan is a specialized x-ray test that provides pictures of your heart to help detect and measure calcium-containing plaque in the four main coronary arteries. This buildup can harden and disrupt your body’s normal processes. See panel for calcium scores.
The higher the coronary calcium score the more at risk you are for developing coronary artery disease (CAD) or having a heart attack. The score is obtained from the CT images and converted to a percentile rank which calculates your risk. You do need a doctor’s referral for a CT Heart Score.
SHOULD I HAVE THIS TEST?
Yes, early detection is key to prevention. You should have a CT Heart Score if you answer yes to four of the following risk factors:
- Family history of heart disease
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- History of smoking
- Lack of physical activity
- Other vascular disease
- Stressful lifestyle
Your provider may advise you to have a heart score to help make decisions about how to lower your risk for heart disease and heart attack.
WHAT TO EXPECT FOR THIS TEST?
There is no special preparation needed prior to the test. No fasting. No IV or injection.
You will lie on the CT scan table with your arms resting above your head. You will have three electrode patches attached to your chest to record the activity of your heart. The table will slide into the open scanner and you will be asked to lay still and hold your breath for 20–30 seconds.
AFTER THE SCAN AND THE RESULTS
You will be free to resume your normal daily routines.
Your results will be sent to your primary care provider to discuss the results with you.
If follow up is needed by a cardiologist, your primary care physician can schedule an appointment with Matthew Bosner, MD, FACC, FACP.
Dr. Bosner is Chief of Staff and a noninvasive cardiology physician at SGCMH.
CALCIUM SCORE EQUAL TO 0
This score indicates there is no calcium in the coronary arteries. A score of zero generally means there is little chance coronary artery disease is present. However, it does not mean coronary artery disease will not develop in the future. To help insure your heart remains healthy, eat a balanced diet regularly and do not smoke.
CALCIUM SCORE 0-10
This score means there is a small amount of calcium present in your coronary arteries. Although a score in this range generally means you have only a small risk for coronary artery disease, your score may increase with age. Your provider may suggest a risk modification program that includes a low-fat diet, weight control, ending tobacco use, an exercise program and regular monitoring of blood pressure and cholesterol.
CALCIUM SCORE OF 11-100
This score is indicative of mild plaque build up in the coronary arteries. Even though the risk of heart disease is still low, your doctor could suggest a more aggressive risk modification program that includes aspirin therapy and stress management.
CALCIUM SCORE OF 101-400
A score in this range indicates that moderate to severe coronary artery disease is present. Your doctor may order additional testing and develop an aggressive risk management plan and carefully monitor the results.
CALCIUM SCORE OF 400 OR HIGHER
A score this high is a warning sign that severe coronary heart disease is present and the likelihood of severe narrowing of the arteries is high. Your doctor will want to order additional tests because your risk for an acute coronary event is considered high. If you have a heart score in this range, work closely with your doctor to manage all your risk factors.
MAKE AN APPOINTMENT
The Heart Scan is offered at the hospital’s main campus located at 800 Ste. Genevieve Drive.
To schedule your heart scan contact the Diagnostic Imaging department at 573.883.7720