A coronary artery calcium scoring test is a screening often performed on patients who are not showing any signs or symptoms of an illness. The scan shows the amount of calcium in the walls of the arteries that supply the heart muscle. The more calcium, the higher the calcium score and the higher risk you may have of experiencing a heart attack or stroke in the next five to 10 years.
The amount of calcium in the walls of the arteries is measured by taking a special computed tomography (CT) scan of your heart. Electrode patches are placed on your chest so an electrocardiogram (ECG) machine can be attached. You then lie on a scanning table that moves through the CT machine’s round opening. The CT machine links to the ECG so that the recorded electric pulses from your heart notify the CT when to take the scans. You will be asked to hold your breath, the table will move and images of your heart will be taken. (As in all X-ray scans, radiation is used so this procedure should be avoided if you are pregnant or trying to conceive.)
Your Summa Health physician will use the coronary artery calcium score to determine if you are at high risk of heart issues and, if necessary, provide guidance.
For more information, schedule an appointment with the Summa Health Heart and Vascular Institute.