Coronary Calcium Scoring

Heart Scanning in Central Utah

Coronary calcium scoring, also known as heart scanning, is one of the tests that can be performed during a CT Scan. This test is used to view the buildup of plaque in the arteries and assess a patient’s risk of a heart attack. Your doctor may recommend this test if you have frequent chest pains or are at risk of a cardiac event. Heart disease is number one killer in the United States, and the coronary calcium scoring is becoming more and more common as awareness rises.

What You Need to Know About Coronary Calcium Scorning

If you have ever had a CT Scan, you will already be familiar with the heart scanning process. Patients lie face up on a table and receive a series of low-dose radiation X-rays. In this case, the scans are concentrated on the heart to obtain images of the coronary arteries. The tests are not very time consuming, usually lasting around 10 minutes, and are noninvasive. Unless something that requires immediate attention is discovered, you should be able to return home the same day you arrive for the test.

The importance of coronary calcium scanning:

  • Calcium contributes to the development of artery plaque
  • Artery plaque is a buildup of cholesterol that narrows the arteries and makes it difficult for blood to flow
  • Plaque hardens over time in a process called “calcification” which increases the risk of a blood clot
  • A heart attack occurs when a blood clot forms in the arteries
  • Coronary calcium scoring allows your doctor to assess the condition of your arteries and take preventative measures if you are at risk for a heart attack or other forms of heart disease

Artery calcification is serious, but catching it before a heart attack occurs gives patients a major advantage. Making dietary changes, getting more exercise, and taking certain medications can improve the heart’s condition and prevent a heart attack. If severe calcification is discovered during your heart scan, our team can instruct you on heart healthy habits.

To learn more about coronary calcium scoring at Central Valley Medical Center, call our imaging department at 435-623-3165.