The coronary arteries are the vessels that supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart. Plaque, made of fat, calcium and other substances, can build up and narrow or close the arteries.
To detect this build-up, your medical provider may order cardiac calcium scoring.
This ultra-low dose Computed Tomography (CT) exam of the heart calculates your risk of developing coronary artery disease (CAD) by measuring the amount of calcified plaque in the coronary arteries. Plaque or calcium build-up in the coronary arteries causes heart disease or can lead to a heart attack. The coronary calcium scan is a better predictor of coronary events than cholesterol screening or other risk factor assessments.
A calcium score is calculated based on the amount of plaque observed in the CT scan. It may be converted to a percentile rank based on your age and gender.
The results from your cardiac scoring will be sent to the medical provider that ordered your test. The likelihood of having heart disease or a heart attack often correlates with the calcium score. The lower your calcium score and percentile rank, the less likely you are to have a cardiac event compared to other men or women your age.
The purpose of the test is to understand your risk of heart attack or disease, taking preventive or corrective measures based on the results.
This type of exam is not covered by any health insurance plan. At Diagnostic Imaging Services, the fee is $99 and payable in full at the time of the visit. A referral order for the CT cardiac calcium score from your medical provider is required.