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CT screening for heart disease
Computed tomography (CT) screening for heart disease saves lives by identifying patients who are at risk of developing heart disease often before they develop any symptoms.
Coronary artery disease (CAD) or atherosclerotic heart disease is the most common type of heart disease and cause of heart attacks. The disease is caused by plaque building up along the inner walls of the arteries of the heart, which narrows the arteries and restricts blood flow to the heart. It is the leading cause of death worldwide.
Most individuals show no evidence of disease for decades as plaque buildup occurs in their arteries, often resulting in a sudden heart attack.
What is CT – Cardiac Calcium Scoring?
Cardiac Computed Tomography (CT) for calcium scoring is a screening test for people who have no symptoms of heart disease.
This non-invasive exam produces pictures of the coronary arteries to determine if they are blocked or narrowed by the buildup of calcified plaque – an indicator for coronary artery disease (CAD). The information obtained can help evaluate whether you are at increased risk for heart attacks.
The findings on cardiac CT are expressed as a calcium score. Because calcium is a marker of coronary artery disease, the amount of calcium detected will give your practitioner more information about your risk of developing heart disease and help guide lifestyle and/or medication changes to reduce cholesterol.
Many people only learn that they have heart disease when they have a heart attack. Early detection of heart disease will help you take steps to reduce your risk such as eating a heart-healthy diet, getting more exercise and quitting smoking – all good lifestyle choices to maintain good heart health.
Is there a cost?
The cost may be reimbursable under certain extended health benefit plans or health spending accounts.
$475 MIC offers CT Cardiac Calcium Scoring on a patient-pay basis.
What to expect
- You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing to your exam. You may be given a gown to wear during the procedure.
- The CT scanner is a large machine with a hole, or short tunnel, in the center. You will lie on an examination table that slides into and out of this tunnel while the x-ray tube and electronic x-ray detectors rotate around you.
- The computer workstation that processes the imaging information is located in an adjacent control room, where the technologist operates the scanner and monitors your examination. The technologist will be able to talk to you with the use of a speaker and microphone.
- The entire procedure including the actual CT scanning is usually completed within 10 minutes.
- The radiologist will review all of the images and provide a complete report to your practitioner, usually within 24 hours