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Heart Scan – Overview



What is a heart scan, or a coronary calcium score as we call it? This is a test used to detect coronary artery disease. It’s a low cost, non-invasive test that involves a CT scan that takes an x-ray of your heart to determine the presence of calcium, which we then use to determine your risk of having coronary artery disease. We use this test along with others to risk stratify you and determine the chances of coronary artery disease and your risk of having a heart attack in the future. By doing a coronary calcium score testing, that allows us to determine your risk of having a heart attack or coronary artery disease, ultimately allowing us to know which medications would serve you best. Not all patients need a coronary calcium score. If you are a younger, lower risk patient with a low pre-test probability of having coronary disease, you most likely do not need a coronary calcium score.

Furthermore, if you are a very high risk patient or already have established coronary disease, coronary calcium score will offer no additional benefit or information. But if you are a medium risk patient patient above the age of 50 with one or two risk factors and no symptoms, but want to know if you have the presence of disease and do not need a stress test, this test will give you an answer. If your calcium score is zero or very low, then you have a very low likelihood of having significant coronary artery disease, and you can be rest assured and you do not need additional testing. However, if your coronary calcium score testing is very high, then most likely you have significant disease and will need to be under the care of a cardiologist for further risk assessment and testing. Please contact your doctor about seeing if a coronary calcium test would be right for you.

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