The Veterans Memorial Hospital Radiology Department now offers a CT Cardiac Calcium Scoring test for a quick, convenient and noninvasive way of evaluating the amount of calcified (hard) plaque and buildup of cholesterol on the walls of the arteries in the heart. The calcium score gives the medical provider an idea of how much plaque is in the patient’s heart arteries, that hasn’t yet caused problems. This calcium score may help predict the risk of a heart attack and determine ways to reduce these risk factors.
The goal of cardiac CT scan for calcium scoring is to determine if Coronary Artery Disease is present and to what extent, even if there are no symptoms. It is a screening study that may be recommended by a physician for patients with risk factors for Coronary Artery Disease but no clinical symptoms. For anyone how has already had a heart attack, coronary bypass surgery or a coronary stent, calcium scoring will not provide additional information.
The major risk factors for Coronary Arterial Disease include the following:
- high blood cholesterol levels
- family history of heart attacks
- high blood pressure
- cigarette smoking
- overweight or obese
- physical inactivity
The Veterans Memorial Hospital Radiology Department can perform these exams Monday through Friday. A patient can ask their provider to order this exam for them. The patient’s provider simply sends an order to the radiology department, who will then contact the patient to schedule this exam. This can usually be performed within a week. The exam itself lasts just 15 minutes.
This exam is not usually covered by insurance and is generally paid out of pocket. Not only does a Cardiologist look at the arteries in the heart, but a Radiologist also looks at the lower half of the lungs to evaluate for cancer, lung nodules, and other lung diseases.
For more information, please call the Veterans Memorial Hospital Radiology Department at 563-568-3411.