CT Calcium Scoring
Coronary Calcium Scoring is done to assess whether the arteries are blocked or narrowed by the plaque or not. It is a non-invasive method and can determine if the person is at an increased risk of a heart attack. It is also done to determine Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). CT Calcium Scoring uses special X-ray equipment to get clear images of the soft tissues and the blood vessels.
If the plaque grows inside the arteries of your heart, it can limit the flow of blood to the muscles of the heart. And, with this process, the doctor can determine if there is any possible coronary artery disease before you develop any symptoms.
Why is it done?
Doctors may ask you to get a heart scan if they believe that you are at risk of heart disease. It is also done to determine whether CAD is present or not even if there is no symptom, and if it is present, then to what extent. Some of the major risks for CAD are –
- High blood pressure
- High level of blood cholesterol
- Inactive lifestyle
- Family history of heart strokes
What are the benefits?
Some benefits of CT Calcium scoring are –
- It is a non-invasive method.
- It does not require an injection of contrast material.
- No radiation remains in the body of the patient.
- It does not have immediate side effects.
- You can carry on your daily activities immediately in a normal manner.
- It is not a time-consuming process.
What are the limitations?
- It is not covered under all the health insurance plans.
- There may be a weight limit.
- A person may not fit properly in the machine.
- There is uncertainty about how the treatment should be modified.
- The quality of the image may get disturbed with a high heart rate.
- People who are below 50 years may have non-calcified plaque so detection of CAD may become difficult.
What are the risks involved?
- Excessive exposure to radiation may lead to chances of having cancer.
- It may be followed by some other test that may lead to side effects.
- The radiation dose varies for this exam.
- It is not recommended for pregnant women unless it is an emergency.
How is the presence of CAD evaluated?
The extent of CAD can be determined on the basis of the calcium scoring. Below is the table which shows the details about the calcium scoring and the presence of CAD accordingly.
|Presence of CAD|
|No evidence of CAD|
Minimal evidence of CAD
Mild evidence of CAD
Moderate evidence of CAD
Extensive evidence of CAD