Services


 

Diagnostic Radiology

Coronary Calcium Scoring

What is Coronary Calcium Scoring?

A cardiac CT scan for coronary calcium is a pain-free, non-invasive and inexpensive procedure which provides information about the presence, location and extent of calcified plaque in the coronary arteries – the vessels that supply blood to the heart wall. Plaque is build-up of fat and other substances, including calcium. Over time, they can narrow the arteries or even close of blood flow to the heart. The result may lead to painful angina or a heart attack.

The amount of calcified plaque detected on a Cardiac CT scan is used to establish your calcium score. The score, based on age, gender and other risk factors, is a strong indicator of your risk of Coronary Artery Disease. In general, a high score indicates a greater plaque load and an increased risk of a heart attack. Early detection is key.


Calcium Score Guidelines
Total ScorePlaque BurdenRisk Category
    0NoneVery Low
    1-10MinimalLow
    11-100MildModerate
    101-400ModerateModerate
    Over 400Extensive
High

How is the CT calcium score performed?

You will be asked to lie on your back on the CT exam table for approximately 10 minutes.

ECG leads are attached to your chest in order for the scanner to record the electrical activities of your heart. You are then asked to hold your while the images are recorded. You may resume normal activities following your exam. The radiol- specially trained to supervise and interpret the radiology exams, will review the images and send a report to you and your referring doctor.

 

CAC Distribution in Women & Men

 

CAC Distribution in Men vs Age

CAC = 0CAC = 1 – 80CAC = 81 – 400CAC = >400
<30
30-34
35-39
40-44
45-49
50-54
55-59
60-64
65-69
>70

100%

90%

80%

70%

60%

50%

40%

30%

20%

10%

0%

 

 

 

CAC Distribution in Women vs Age

CAC = 0CAC = 1 – 80CAC = 81 – 400CAC = >400
<30
30-34
35-39
40-44
45-49
50-54
55-59
60-64
65-69
>70

100%

90%

80%

70%

60%

50%

40%

30%

20%

10%

0%

 

 

 

 

Coronary Artery Disease

Excessive build up of plaque, fat and calcium can constrict your arteries and restrict blood flow to heart and organs. This plaque build up is slow and can last years before it becomes noticeable, which is why monitoring your CT Calcium score can be very helpful in early diagnosis.

Some symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease include:

  • Heart Attack
  • Chest Pain that can be triggered by stress, will usually be felt in the middle or left side of your chest.
  • Shortness of breath or overwhelming fatigue that’s caused by not enough blood flow through your body.

 

And contributing risk factors include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Family history
  • Diabetes
  • Physical inactivity

 

Visit the Mayo Clinic website for more information regarding risks and symptoms of the Coronary Artery Disease.

 

 

Pricing

A cardiac CT scan is not covered by most insurance plans. We offer this imaging service, including the physician’s interpretation at a cost of $150.00.

 

Contraindications

Pregnancy, pacemaker, coronary stent, bypass graft and in some cases orthopedic hardware in the mid or lower T spine.

 

Test Prep

No tobacco, coffee, caffeinated soda, or chocolate for 6 hours prior to your test. No vigorous exercise for 6 hours prior to your test. Eat and take medications as normal.

 

Service Locations

Visit one of our imaging centers at Alamogordo Imaging Center, El Camino Imaging Center and X-Ray Associates at Santa Fe.