Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring

Now Offering

Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring

3T Imaging now offers Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring at its state of the art imaging center. Coronary artery disease occurs when the arteries that carry blood and oxygen to the heart become clogged with plaque. This plaque build-up slows the flow of blood to the heart muscle causing ischemia and increasing the chance of heart failure. Your calcium score provides a general indication of the degree to which your coronary arteries have been narrowed. In general, a high score indicates a greater plaque load and an increased risk of a heart attack. Early detection is the key and 3T Imaging can assist you in that goal.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes heart disease?

The primary cause of heart disease is the build-up of plaque (atherosclerosis) in the arteries of the heart. This build-up, which consists of a combination of fatty material, fibrous material and calcified plaque, can cause the arteries to narrow. Plaque can also break away from the artery walls and cause a blockage. In both instances the heart muscle does not receive enough blood flow and oxygen - thus a heart attack can occur.

What are some risk factors for heart disease?

  • Age (men 40 or older, women 50 or older)
  • Family history of heart disease
  • High cholesterol levels
  • History of smoking
  • High stress levels
  • Sedentary lifestyle and obesity
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure

What is coronary calcium scoring?

coronary ct calcium score image morton grove chicagoCoronary calcium scoring is a pain-free, non-invasive and inexpensive procedure requiring less than 10 minutes. Using CT imaging with multi-detector scanning capability, the equipment takes many images of your heart and coronary arteries without any injections, needles or removal of your clothing. The amount of calcified plaque detected in your coronary arteries is used to establish your coronary calcium score.

The scan itself takes about 10 minutes but you should plan on being at the center for at least 30 minutes, accounting for registration time, patient evaluation and instructions. First, you complete a brief risk factor questionnaire. Next, you lie down on the imaging table while a CT technologist places a few EKG leads on you. You are then asked to hold your breath while the images are taken. That's it. You can return to your regular routine. A board certified radiologist, using high tech software, calculates your cardiac score based on the images taken. He or she provides an evaluation of the results within 24 hours.

Image: Reconstructed 3-dimensional image of the heart obtained from CT scanning with intravenous contrast. This cannot be done with coronary calcium screening as no intravenous contrast is administered.

Is coronary calcification scoring safe?

The radiation exposure during cardiac scoring is very minimal (comparable to the radiation received during a chest x-ray). No intravenous injections or needles are required. Not only is it safe, it is also simple.

What does my cardiac score tell me?

Subtle early warning signs of heart disease can be detected. Cardiac scoring is the latest diagnostic tool to detect calcified plaque in the coronary arteries. The score, based on age, gender and other risk factors, is a strong indicator of your risk for coronary artery disease. With this information, your doctor can recommend the appropriate treatment, including diet and lifestyle changes, medication and/or further testing.

Is coronary artery disease treatable?

Yes, the plaque build-up process can be slowed, stabilized and reversed, in some cases, through aggressive lifestyle modification and/or through medication therapies under the guidance of your physician.

What will my report include?

3T Imaging provides a comprehensive report, which includes the findings from your CT and the normal amounts of calcium found in men and women of differing ages. Also included in the report is the risk level that your score places you at and the current recommendations for treatment. You may discuss all the results with your primary care physician.

How will I receive my results?

A formal report will be faxed to your referring physician in one or two days.

Do I need a written physician's order?

Yes, please ask your primary care physician for a referral for a cardiac scoring.


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