Cardiac Calcium Scoring CT
Cardiac calcium scoring involves a quick CT scan of the heart to help assess the degree of calcium deposits, or plaque, in the coronary arteries, which can narrow arteries and increase the risk of heart attack. It can identify coronary artery disease at an early, asymptomatic stage, and years before the presence of disease. In just 10 minutes, with minimal preparation, the assessment of coronary arteries is complete and a score is computed for each artery based on the amount of calcium found.
This screening tool is available for people who do not have any symptoms of heart disease. Typically, there is a risk factor that has been identified, such as family history or hypertension.
Ask your physician if this screening exam would benefit you. The exam typically is recommended for asymptomatic men over age 55 and women over age 65 with no known cardiovascular disease and who have at least one of the following risk factors:
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Family history of coronary artery disease
- History of smoking
- High blood pressure / Hypertension
- High cholesterol
The exam takes 10 minutes. Cardiac calcium scoring CT is a noninvasive screening exam that does not require a contrast agent. The exam involves one short breath-hold in the scanner.
Check with your insurance plan before scheduling the exam. Washington Radiology recognizes the importance of maintaining heart health through regular screenings like cardiac calcium scoring. To increase access to this life-saving exam, we offer special pricing in which the maximum out-of-pocket cost a patient at Washington Radiology will pay for cardiac calcium scoring is $250.
Preparing for Your Exam
Patient peace of mind starts with the right preparation. In addition to the written order from your physician, please bring any prior images or reports from outside Washington Radiology with you to your appointment, if related to the reason for your visit with us.
It is important to know that your heart rate must be below 75 beats per minute to perform a Cardiac Calcium Scoring CT. For this reason, we ask you:
- Avoid caffeinated drinks 24 hours before your appointment.
- Do not exercise the day of your appointment.
If you know your resting heart rate is now above 75, talk to your doctor about prescribing a one-time beta-blocker to temporarily slow your heart rate. If your heart rate does not go below 75 on the day of the CT exam, you will have to reschedule your exam after your doctor prescribes a beta-blocker. If you have follow-up questions about the preparations, contact the Washington Radiology office where your exam is scheduled and ask to speak with the nurse.