What is a Calcium Score CT scan?
A coronary artery calcium score is the measurement of calcium in the walls of the arteries that supply the heart muscle. It is measured by taking a special computed tomography (CT) scan of the heart. The scan shows the amount of hardening of the artery wall. The results of the scan make it possible to estimate the risk of a heart attack or stroke in the next 5–10 years. The more calcium there is, the higher the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
What happens during my CT calcium score?
Once changed for the scan you will be shown onto the scanning table. Four electrode patches will be placed on your chest to measure the electrical activity of the heart via ECG leads which are linked to the CT machine. No injections or drinks are necessary. The scan is then performed to match the beats of the heart and it will give you some breathing instructions while the images are acquired.
Why would my doctor request a CT calcium score?
This scan is a screening test so you may not have any signs or symptoms but your doctor will use the coronary artery calcium score to assess your risk of a heart attack or stroke and will help you reduce your risk if necessary.
What preparation is required for my CT calcium score?
On the day of the scan, you will be advised not to smoke or drink coffee, tea, soft drinks, herbal teas or other caffeinated drinks. No other preparation is required.
How long will the CT calcium score take?
You should allow approximately 30 minutes for the scan. The scan itself is very quick, but will require you to hold your breath between 5 and 20 seconds, depending on the scanner used.
Are there any risks associated with CT calcium scores?
As with all CT scans, radiation is used to acquire images so you should avoid them if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. If you have any questions regarding radiation, please consult your doctor or speak with our friendly technical staff who will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
What are the benefits of performing a CT calcium score?
Your doctor will use the coronary artery calcium score to assess your risk of a heart attack or stroke in the next 5–10 years and will help you reduce your risk if your score is found to be in a high-risk category. They may also request follow up scans in a few years in order to compare the results with the previous scans.
How do I receive my results?
Our specialist radiologists will report the findings of the scans and send them to your doctor within 48 hours. It is very important to follow up with your doctor so that they can explain the results to you.
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