Resources

Q

What is coronary calcification?

A

Coronary calcification occurs when calcium deposits in your blood vessels. Research shows that the amount of calcification is directly related to the amount of plaque in your arteries. This plaque increases your likelihood of developing heart disease.

Q

Why is CT scanning used to detect coronary calcification?

A

CT scans can detect the amount of calcium build-up in the coronary arteries. The test, otherwise known as a cardiac score, is used to help diagnose heart disease. Because heart disease is a leading cause of death, it is important to undergo screenings. CT scans are one of the most accurate ways to detect calcium build-up in your coronary arteries.

Q

Who should have a cardiac score?

A

Your doctor may recommend a cardiac score if you:

  • Smoke
  • Have a family history of coronary artery disease
  • Have diabetes
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have high cholesterol
  • Have coronary artery disease
  • Are overweight
  • Live a sedentary lifestyle
  • Experience a high level of stress
  • Experience atypical chest pain
Q

How should I prepare for my CT scan to detect coronary calcification?

A

To prepare for a CT scan, we recommend you dress comfortably. Also, avoid any clothing that contains metal objects such as snaps or zippers that can affect the CT image. You will not be asked to wear a gown unless the technician feels your clothing could affect the results of the scan. Depending on your individual scan, you may receive a contrast injection. Contrast material is a dye that makes your organs and blood vessels more visible when you are scanned. If contrast is used, you will be asked not to eat or drink for 4 hours prior to the procedure. After the scan you should drink plenty of liquids to help flush the contrast out of your system.