Coronary Calcium screenings are ordered by physicians. The test is done at Beebe Healthcare's Diagnostic Imaging locations and the results are returned within 24 hours. This screening allows doctors to understand your risk for heart disease.
Coronary calcium scans use a special X-ray test called computed tomography (CT) to check for the buildup of calcium in plaque on the walls of the arteries of the heart (coronary arteries ). This test is used to check for early stage heart disease.
Coronary atherosclerosis, hardening of the arteries, is the disease responsible for most cardiac events (heart attacks and heart related deaths). It can be hard to detect. Coronary calcium scores, or CCS for short, measure the amount of atherosclerotic plaque in the coronary arteries. The heart scan is noninvasive, involves no IVs or dye, and takes less than a minute to complete. Beebe offers coronary calcium screenings for $99 when the procedure is not covered by insurance.
Understanding Your Risk
By accessing the coronary calcium scores and adding in traditional risk factors such as family history of heart and vascular disease, diabetes, cigarette use, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, physicians are able to better predict cardiac events. The screening is especially useful in people with no symptoms who have moderate risk of the disease (1-3 risk factors).
Physicians and patients: Use the MESA Calculator (link below) to better understand 10-year coronary heart disease risk. This online calculator is most appropriate for patients in the 45-85 year age range.
To use the score you will need information on the following risk factors:
- Age, gender, race/ethnicity
- Diabetes (yes/no)
- Current smoker (yes/no)
- Total and HDL cholesterol
- Use of lipid lowering medication (yes/no)
- Systolic blood pressure (mmHg)
- Use of anti-hypertensive medication (yes/no)
- Any family history of heart attack in first degree relative (parent/sibling/child) (yes/no)
- A coronary artery calcium score (Agatston units).