Cardiac imaging provides pictures of your heart and cardiac vessels to see how your heart is performing. The noninvasive diagnostic tests – including X-rays, CT scans, and ultrasounds – help us diagnose various heart and vascular conditions. At Cardiovascular Medicine, we offer advanced imaging tests so we can successfully treat and manage all types of cardiovascular diseases.
When to See a Cardiovascular Specialist
If you are at risk for heart disease or have symptoms that concern you, our comprehensive testing can help identify any issues. Conditions that we diagnose with cardiac imaging include:
Our range of cardiac diagnostic tests can provide the information you need to make informed decisions about your healthcare. Deciding which test is right for you will depend on several factors, including your symptoms and individual circumstances. Our diagnostic testing options include:
We offer an array of procedures to treat and manage your cardiovascular condition so you can feel better. Working alongside you, we design a treatment plan that will allow you to feel better and return to doing the things you love. Our treatment options include:
Coronary Calcium Scoring
What is a Coronary Calcium Scoring?
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women. It results from plaque that grows inside the arteries of your heart, which can restrict blood flow to the muscles. People often have no warning signs prior to a cardiac event.
Coronary calcium scoring can detect a life-threatening build up of plaque before signs and symptoms appear — giving patients the chance to prevent future coronary artery disease. By understanding your risk, you have the opportunity to change your lifestyle before extensive, irreversible damage occurs.
If you are at risk of a heart attack, coronary calcium scoring could save your life. The cardiac imaging scan uses a multi-slice computed tomography (CT) scanner to take pictures of your heart. The quick, painless, noninvasive procedure can help determine the degree and severity of calcium-containing hard plaque within your coronary arteries.
What to Expect
Before the test, you can eat, drink and take most medications as usual, but we ask that you refrain from caffeine and smoking for 4 hours prior.
When you arrive, the technician will attach electrodes to your chest. These sensors record your heart activity, noting when the heart muscles are relaxed between heartbeats to take X-ray pictures. To ensure we get the clearest images, we may give you medication to slow your heartbeat.
For the heart scan, you will lie on your back on a table that can slide into the CT scanner. To get the best pictures, we'll ask you to lie as still as possible and hold your breath for a few seconds at a time. During this, your head will be outside the scanner. Though the technician will be in another room, you'll be able to communicate with them if needed. The procedure takes about 10 to 15 minutes.
Risks & Side Effects
Am I a Candidate?
We recommend calcium scoring for anyone at risk for coronary artery disease. For those whose risk is low, moderate, or unclear, having a heart scan can guide treatment and provide you with motivation to make lifestyle changes. We will assess your individual risk factors to help you decide if a heart scan would be beneficial.
The test is especially useful in men over the age of 45 and females over the age of 55 with risk factors. Screening may be helpful for those over 40 who have a family history of certain risk factors, as well.
More on Coronary Calcium Scoring
About Coronary Calcium Scoring Numbers
Do I Need a Referral for a Calcium Scoring Test?
Common Risk Factors
Common risk factors include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Inactive lifestyle
- Family history of early heart disease