Coronary Calcium Scan Introduction

Often referred to as a CT scan, the coronary calcium scan introduces a new way to diagnose the likelihood of a future heart attack. A hardened plaque, or calcified plaque, in the arteries slows blood flow and can cause chest pain. A high calcium score is a sign of a higher risk of future ischaemic heart disease. It can also be helpful in determining if the patient should be prescribed preventive medicine or exercise.

Coronary artery calcium scoring is a useful tool for diagnosing the likelihood of a future heart attack, but it can also be harmful. In fact, the scan may be unnecessary, especially if you are a healthy person. You should talk with your doctor before having a calcium score performed.

The scan is conducted by a radiographer who is trained to use the CT machine. The procedure is painless and does not involve dye, contrast material, or any other invasive measures. The test should take about 10 to 15 minutes. You can choose to have the test performed on a computer monitor or to be printed on film.

The scan takes x-rays through the patient’s chest and uses a special type of X-ray to determine whether or not a calcified plaque has formed in the coronary arteries. A calcified plaque is made of calcium and fats, which are not good for the heart. If you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or other risk factors, you may need a second test to determine if there has been a change in your calcium score.

Typically, the test is not recommended for pregnant women or people who are trying to conceive. However, if your doctor recommends the test for you, you should tell the x-ray technician that you are pregnant.

If you are over age 40, you should be considered for a calcium scan. If you are under 40, you should also consider having a calcium scan. However, you should not undergo a test if you have a family history of heart disease. The test is not recommended for women who are trying to conceive, pregnant, or have had a heart attack.

A CT scan is not recommended for pregnant women. Doctors do not recommend this test for pregnant women unless they feel it is medically necessary. It is also not recommended for people with familial hypercholesterolemia. It may also cause skin irritation. For more information, visit the Interventional Radiology and Nuclear Medicine Procedures page.

When your doctor orders a CT scan, you will need to lie still for about 3 to 5 seconds and hold your breath. The technician will be in a room next door to the machine. The machine produces x-rays at targeted rings around the patient. The x-rays will then radiate through the body to a detector. The technician will view the images and see whether or not the calcium has been found.

If you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other risk factors, you may need to repeat your calcium score after five years. If you have a high calcium score, your doctor will recommend that you receive intensive medical therapy. However, invasive interventions may cause unnecessary harm. You may also need follow-up exams to assess the effects of your treatment and determine whether it is working. If you have had a heart attack, you may also need a second calcium score. You should also discuss other diagnostic tests for heart disease with your doctor.

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