Coronary Artery Calcium Score CT, or CT Heart and Cardiac CT, are all names for a specialized type of scan that allows medical professionals to assess the level of calcium build-up in your heart arteries.
As we age, our cardiovascular system can be harmed by cholesterol and fat deposits, and other toxins that damage the inner layers of our blood vessels.
In response to this injury, the body sends healing materials like calcium – much like concrete- providing stability and support to those areas to remain strong over time. Calcium build-up in the heart’s arteries is an indirect indication that these arteries are becoming narrowed due to plaque build-up and subsequent calcium deposits.
Coronary Artery Calcium Score CT is a tool to measure this deposit in the four primary arterial sites of your heart:
Left main (the “widow maker,” the major artery from which most other arteries flow)
Left anterior descending (which nourishes the front and most prominent cardiac muscle)
Left circumflex (which nourishes the back and outer side of the heart)
Right coronary artery (which nourishes the backside of the heart).
An overall assessment known as Total Calcium Score summarizes all these values with a simple number. Among patients without prior heart disease, studies examining Calcium scans have consistently shown the presence, extent, and severity of atherosclerosis and provided additional information on the prognosis for the patient.
Standard tests allow medical professionals to provide more accurate diagnoses, identify the risk for heart disease, and inform preventive measures such as lifestyle changes or medication that patients can take to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease.
The most basic tests to assess heart disease are the cholesterol panel, c-reactive protein (CRP) test, blood pressure measurements, and electrocardiogram (ECG). More advanced testing for heart disease, like the Coronary Artery Calcium Score CT, may be vital to discovering more information if these tests uncover a potential problem.
Advanced Coronary Artery Testing
Despite being on the market for decades, many patients remain uninformed regarding Coronary Artery Calcium Score CT as insurance providers do not cover them. However, in most states, you can still acquire such tests with a physician’s approval and pay out of pocket.
The beauty of this remarkable scan is that it has the potential to identify heart disease early on, alert those we deem at minimal risk, in reality, may be facing major health issues, or gauge whether a condition worsens over time!
This scan is a CT Scan utilizing low-level radiation. The radiation exposure from just one Calcium Coronary scan equals 0.6mSv – equivalent to the amount we’d receive over four months naturally in our environment (which is always at minimal levels).
The test outcome is a score expressed as a numerical value, with 0 being exceptionally good and 400+ being very poor. The score is the sum of all calcium build-up areas.
0 – indicates that no calcium is present in the heart, inferring a limited possibility of obtaining any serious cardiac illness and an insignificant probability of having a heart attack sometime shortly (<5%).
1-10 – suggests minimal amounts of visible plaque with an improbable risk for coronary failure (<10%)
11-100 – signifies mild accumulation of fatty deposits, which results in slight narrowing down on artery walls.
101-400 – symbolizes moderate build-up surrounding the arteries causing more significant constriction along its pathways
Over 400 – Over the next three to five years, one is at a heightened risk of developing heart disease or experiencing cardiac arrest.
Generally, if a patient scores over 100 on their calcium scan test, it is wise to refer them for a cardiology consultation to assess the amount of blockage and possible damage. However, even when the score is less than 100, but the deposit score is in one main artery, we suggest they speak with a cardiologist due to the increased risk of significant narrowing in this one artery.
Moreover, whenever any result surpasses 11 points or higher, we advise patients to take more proactive steps to delay potential heart attacks until some other event leads to death.
Which Cause of Aging Does Coronary Artery Calcium Score CT Help Treat?
3T Imaging performs Coronary Artery Calcium Score CTs on our patients to evaluate various conditions, including:
When looking into aging and longevity, assessing your risk for heart disease and high cholesterol is essential!