Heart Health Calcium Scoring
What is a Heart CT Scan?
Heart Check is a heart calcium scan. It is a painless, non-invasive way of obtaining information about your coronary arteries -- the vessels that supply blood to the heart wall. This type of scan is done via a CT scan and provides pictures of your heart's arteries (coronary arteries). Heart Check provides a screening test that may show that you have a higher risk of having a heart attack or other problems before you have any obvious symptoms of heart disease. It can help reveal heart disease in its early stages, even years before you have a symptom. The test is fast, pain free and safe. There are no needles or dyes. It's similar in many ways to receiving an x-ray.
How Does It Work?
It is quick, pain free and easy. There are no needles, no dyes, no injections and no exercise. You remain fully clothed and comfortable. You can go through the entire process in about an hour. The actual procedure itself is only a few minutes as Heart Check uses computed tomography, also known as a CT. Heart Check uses noninvasive techniques for doctors to look for calcium deposits in the coronary arteries that can narrow your arteries and increase your heart attack risk. Having calcium in the walls of your arteries shows that you may have coronary artery disease.
Coronary artery disease occurs when plaques build up within the walls of your heart arteries causing narrowing (atherosclerosis) and is a leading cause of heart attacks. The plaques are deposits in the artery walls made of fat, cholesterol and calcium. It's these calcium deposits that can appear years before the development of heart disease symptoms and that Heart Check can detect.
What Are the Results?
The goal is to detect coronary artery disease at an early stage and determine its severity so you can decide what measures you can take to prevent an acute event.
Based on the amount of plaque revealed in your arteries, you will be given a Calcium Score. Your score will then be classified as having no risk, mild risk, moderate risk or high risk. In most cases, a low or moderate score will alert you to consider ways to change your diet or lifestyle. In some cases, a high score might result in further testing or even intervention.
Should You Have a Heart Check?
Don't wait for symptoms!
Heart disease often times produces no symptoms. And that means many people, despite having risk factors for heart disease, wait until they are in serious danger before taking action.
Heart Check is a screening study recommended if you have risk factors for coronary artery disease but have no clinical symptoms. It is suggested for men over 45 and for women who are over 55 or are post-menopausal.
Risk Factors other than age:
High cholesterol levels
Family history of heart disease
High blood pressure
Overweight / obese