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Neuroscience Institute

Coronary Calcium Scoring

What is coronary calcium scoring?

A simple heart scan called coronary calcium scoring can detect your risk of cardiovascular disease. The noninvasive exam takes only minutes to perform and is used to determine the presence of calcified plaque in the arteries.

Plaque is composed of fat, cholesterol and calcium. The plaque in the coronary arteries—the arteries that supply blood to the heart—narrows blood flow. This condition, known as atherosclerosis, increases the likelihood of a future heart attack, heart failure and stroke. Early detection enables physicians to provide aggressive treatment that will hopefully prevent major heart attacks or even cardiac death.

The result of the test is called a ‘coronary calcium score.’ The amount of calcium detected during the scan is used to calculate a score that is combined with other health information to determine your risk of coronary artery disease and heart attack.

Why have a coronary calcium scan?

Coronary calcium scoring is a simple, fast, safe and accurate procedure that uses a CT scan to identify buildup of plaque in the walls of the arteries of the heart. It enables the physician to estimate your risk of heart attack, detect heart disease in early stages, and even treat a heart condition before the patient experiences any symptoms of the disease. Treatment may include recommendations of lifestyle changes and medical therapy to decrease your risk of having a heart attack or even sudden death. This type of intervention can help patients avoid potential extensive, many times irreversible damage.

Who should have a scan?

All men and women with an intermediate risk for coronary artery disease should consider having a coronary calcium screening. You are encouraged to have a heart scan if you have one or more of the following risk factors:
      Family history of heart disease
      High cholesterol
      High blood pressure
      Current or prior tobacco usage
      History of prolonged exposure to second-hand smoke
      Age (men between ages 40-65, women between ages 45-70)

Know Your Score
Calcium Score Presence of Plaque

      0 No evidence of plaque
      1-10 Minimal evidence of plaque
      11-100 Mild evidence of plaque
      101-400 Moderate evidence of plaque
      Over 400 Extensive evidence of plaque
An elevated calcium score is associated with an increased risk of heart attack and death.

What happens during the procedure?

The cardiac calcium scoring scan is a simple test done with minimal radiation exposure – one-third of the radiation that we receive from natural sources annually. There are no injections or dyes involved, and no preparation or disrobing is needed; the patient simply lies on the table as the CT scanner moves you through the “doughnut” shaped opening for a few seconds. There is no disturbing noise in the room, and the patient experiences no discomfort.

How do I schedule the screening?

If you meet certain health criteria* you can schedule a screening without a physician referral. Please consult with your primary care physician or call us at (888) 440-2344 today to schedule your cardiac calcium screening for just $49.

* Criteria for self-referral:
Person to be screened must be a male between the ages of 40-65 or female between the ages of 45-70 AND have at least one of the following risk factors:
Current smoker
Family history of heart disease
Cholesterol level greater than 160 mg/dl (LDL)
Blood pressure greater than 140/90 mmHg

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