WHAT IS A HEART SCAN
The Heart Scan, which is also commonly called a coronary calcium scan, is CT screening designed to detect coronary artery disease (CAD) by measuring the amount of plaque in the arteries.
Heart Scan works by producing images of the coronary arteries. A CT scanner, which is a specialized x-ray device, creates a visual of calcium deposits. From those CT images, doctors can calculate a score. The score is used to evaluate risk of serious health complications, and to help make a determination on treatment moving forward.
WHY HEART SCAN
For 50 percent of people the first symptom of heart disease is a heart attack.
“One in 29 asymptomatic patients’ calcium scores are 1,000 or greater, which indicates a heart attack waiting to happen. If we can discover who has cardiac disease before a heart attack happens, we can save lives and begin to eliminate the No. 1 killer in this country,” Dr. Green.
Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the result of plaque, which contains calcium, building up on the walls of the heart’s arteries. That buildup means that arteries become hard and narrow – a condition called atherosclerosis.
Individuals with CAD who are younger than 65 are at significant risk of death during their first heart attack. In fact, 80% of those deaths occur as a result of that first attack, a particularly daunting figure because heart attacks generally strike without warning or early warning signs.
In some instances active, fit individuals who are otherwise healthy can be at risk of CAD. Because plaque buildup cannot be detected without highly technical medical equipment, many people are surprised to learn that they are at risk of CAD.
Because of that risk, early identification of coronary calcium is extremely valuable. That identification can allow your medical team to build a treatment plant that works to fight CAD, slowing or even stopping its progress before serious health issues develop.
HOW DOES A HEART SCAN WORK
Heart Scan is fast, easy, and affordable. The actual test only takes about five minutes, and most people are in and out within about 30 minutes.
During the test, you’ll lie down on the CT scanner in your street clothes. The scanner is open, so you won’t feel claustrophobic, and you’ll be comfortable and relaxed throughout the test.
You’ll be asked to hold your breath a few seconds. Then, the test is complete and you’re ready to go!
There’s no IV – Heart Scan is completely non-invasive and painless. Our patients often arrive nervous, and are pleasantly surprised at how simple and comfortable the exam is.
After our medical team evaluates the scan, you’ll receive follow up about your results, as well as treatment recommendations if your score is high.
A PARTICIPANT IN THE NATIONAL HEART HEALTH PROGRAM
National Heart Health Program uses a guideline and evidence based approach for referring patients for the detection and prevention of heart disease.