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CT Scan Helps to Prevent Heart Attack

CT Scan for Coronary Calcium Scores is a quick and painless preventative measure.

What is a CT Scan for Coronary Calcium Scores?

  • A Coronary Calcium CT Scan is a non-invasive test similar to an X-ray (but even more sensitive), used to image the heart and detect and quantify calcium deposits in the coronary arteries.
  • The scan will detect the volume and density of coronary calcium deposits in the patient's coronary arteries. Calcium deposits may be an early sign of arterial sclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
  • The scan is "preventative", meaning it can help avert a future heart attack.

Who should get the procedure?

  • The typical patient is a male age 40+ or a female age 45+ with a strong family history of heart disease, especially a relative who had a heart attack at an early age.
  • Many patients are asymptomatic, meaning they do not have symptoms of heart disease.
  • Most patients are referred for the test by their doctor, but patients can self-refer for it, too.

What happens during the procedure?

  • The Scan is done in the CT Suite at Virginia Hospital Center. Three electrodes are placed on the patient's chest, and an EKG (electrocardiogram) synchronizes the beating of the patient's heart to the acquisition of the CT scan. The patient holds their breath for approximately 20 seconds while the CT scan is taken.
  • The Scan is totally painless and non-invasive.

What happens after the procedure?

  • A physician (interventional radiologist) reads the results and calculates a "score" for the patient based on the amount of calcium in their arteries, their age and their risk factors .
  • Results are sent to the patient within a few days. If a patient's score is abnormal, he or she is given a referral to an internal medicine doctor or cardiologist they can go to for follow-up testing and a treatment plan. If a patient's score is normal, then he or she has peace of mind about their heart health.

Patient Preparation Prior to the Examination

Certain examinations require patient preparation prior to the examination to ensure the most accurate study can be performed. Read more

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