Male Patients Age 40+, Female Patients Age 50+
A Heart Scan (also known as Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring) accurately detects calcified plaque build-up in the heart’s arteries, potentially years before a standard exercise stress test could detect disease. The amount of calcified plaque is correlated with the patient’s additional risk factors to obtain the necessary information to chart a proactive treatment.
Calcium deposits do not correspond directly to the percentage of narrowing of the arteries. They do however correlate directly to the amount of coronary plaque and to the risk of future coronary disease. These calcium deposits usually begin to form years before any symptoms develop.
WHO SHOULD BE SCREENED?
This screening is designed for people with a family history of heart disease and those with high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes. In addition, smokers and those exposed to second-hand smoke can benefit from this exam.
Traditional risk factors may be only part of the picture in predicting cardiovascular disease.
- Cigarette smoking
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Family history of premature CAD
A zero calcium score makes the presence of atherosclerotic plaque (including unstable) very unlikely, resulting in low risk of a cardiovascular event in two to five years.
Given age and gender, a positive calcium score confirms the presence of atherosclerotic plaque. The greater the amount of plaque, the greater the likelihood of occlusive coronary artery disease (not 1:1 relationship, and not site-specific)