What is a CT Calcium Score?
A coronary artery calcium score is a special type of CT scan that measures the amount of calcified plaque in the walls of the coronary arteries that supply blood to your heart. The scan uses a high-tech CT machine to produce detailed images of the arteries, identifying the location and quantity of any plaque deposits in them. Coronary calcium scoring has been shown in clinical studies to be the best predictor of a person’s 10-year risk of heart attack and cardiovascular disease. By determining a person’s present calcium score, their risk of developing heart disease can be stratified and appropriately managed. Over-time, plaque typically begins depositing in the arteries; knowing how much is present, helps manage the ongoing risk.
Calcium scoring is used as a screening test for those where your doctor wants greater precision and individualisation of cardiovascular risk. This is particularly applicable to people with the following risk factors:
- High cholesterol (high LDL, low HDL)
- History of smoking
- Family history of heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Overweight or clinically obese
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- A score in the ‘moderate’ category on risk-scoring calculators
Calcium scoring has been shown to be highly appropriate in individuals who are at intermediate risk (in whom the benefits of medical treatment are not clear-cut), as calcium scoring has been found to re-categorise into either low or high risk in over 50% of cases.
Whilst not as critical as in the CT Coronary Angiogram, having a low heart rate helps obtain clear pictures for the CT calcium score. Therefore, on the day of your scan, please do not consume caffeine, do not smoke, or exercise for at least 4 hours. You also will be required to change into a gown and remove any jewellery from around your neck and chest.
CT calcium scoring is a non-invasive scan that lasts for a relatively short time. The scan itself is done in seconds. No injection is required for a calcium score scan, however patients will have ECG monitors placed on the chest to monitor heart rate and enable the scan.
Prior to the scan a CT radiographer will explain the procedure to you and get you changed into a gown. Patients place their arms back over their head, lie comfortably on the CT examination table and are required to follow breathing instructions for the scan. The total time for the preparation and scan time is usually only 10-20 minutes. Once the scan is completed you will be able to return to normal activities.
As this is a scan considering your current and long-term cardiovascular risk, Western Radiology believes the reporting of it should be thorough and personalised. Therefore, our expert cardiologist reports your calcium score, taking in to account your individual circumstances; providing guidance to your referring physician on what steps should be taken next in accordance with current Australian and International consensus guidelines. Results and images are delivered electronically to your doctor within 24 hours of your scan.
Western Radiology Madeley – Unit 1, 210 Wanneroo Rd, Madeley WA 6065
Western Radiology Cockburn Central – Unit 2, 810 North Lake Road, Cockburn Central WA 6164
Western Radiology Morley – 133 Russell St, Morley WA 6062
Western Radiology Clarkson – 10/61 Key Largo Drive, Clarkson WA 6030
*If your scan is not listed, please phone reception.