Do You Know Your Heart Score? Ultrafast CT Screening of the Heart

Know Your Heart ScoreThe Ultrafast CT Screening of the Heart is a quick and simple test which assesses your risk of heart attack by detecting and measuring the amount of calcium build-up in your coronary arteries.

The test allows the radiologist to determine whether a patient has a serious risk of significant narrowing of blood vessels to the heart. More importantly, it allows physicians to find hardened arteries early, allowing treatment with medication and lifestyle changes.

This is a screening that can precede more invasive tests such as a stress test and angiogram. The Ultrafast CT Screening of the Heart is considered to be one of the best available tests to predict the risk of heart attack in apparently healthy people.

Why should I get an Ultrafast CT Screening of the Heart?
The CT or CAT scanner acquires approximately 92 images of the heart. The quantity of calcium build-up in your arteries is then determined and you are given a score which falls under a certain category. This information, along with other indicators, can present an overall picture of your heart’s health. As a result, you and your physician can select the most appropriate care plan.

The Ultrafast CT Screening of the Heart is the only readily available, non-invasive, and sensitive screening test for coronary artery disease. The test is strongly recommended for patients with significant risk factors such as smoking history, high cholesterol, weight problems, or family history of heart disease.

According to statistics, half of the 600,000 Americans who have heart attacks each year, have no symptoms before hand.

What is the preparation for an Ultrafast CT Screening of the Heart?
There are no dyes, no needles, no fasting and no pain. The only preparation required for the Ultrafast CT Screening of the Heart is for the patient to complete a standard medical history questionnaire at the time of his appointment.

How long does the procedure take?
The scan takes 15 minutes or less. The scanner acquires a series of x-ray images of your heart while you hold your breath for 23 seconds.

How long do I have to wait for results?
The radiologist’s report, including your Cardiac Score, will be sent to you in three to four business days.

What does my cardiac score mean?
Score 0 (Zero): No identifiable atherosclerotic plaque (a negative examination). Adherence to general guidelines on diet and exercise are stressed.

Score 1 to 10:  Minimal identifiable plaque.  Significant obtrusive coronary disease is unlikely.  Recommendations are to follow general guidelines on cardiovascular risk reduction.

Score 11 to 100:  Definite but mild plaque.  Risk factor modification is recommended, including daily aspirin prophylaxis and strict adherence to National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) guidelines.  Clinical follow-up is necessary.

Score 101 to 400: Definite, moderate plaque.  Risk factor modification is recommended with non-invasive stress testing preparatory to an exercise program.  Daily aspirin and use of statin medication to reduce LDL cholesterol <100mg/dL is advised in conjunction with other risk factor modification.  Clinical follow-up and further testing such as stress test, nuclear test, cardiac ultrasound or other studies should be considered.

Score over 400:  Significant plaque burden indicating a high likelihood of “significant” coronary stenosis.  Aggressive risk factor modification is recommended (including aspirin and statin medication) with non-invasive stress testing and possibly angiography.

*Further consultation with a physician is recommended for any total score above 0.
Is it painful or uncomfortable?
No. The Ultrafast CT Screening of the Heart is a simple, non-invasive scan in which you lie on the scanning table for a few minutes. We have not received any complaints of pain or discomfort from patients receiving this screening.

Why should I go to Radiology Regional for this?
Radiology Regional Center is an experienced and trusted leader in Southwest Florida’s diagnostic healthcare. Our physicians and technologists are skilled in the use of CT technology for both screening and diagnostic purposes. Your scan will be performed on the same CT scanners that local physicians rely on for their patients.

How do I schedule an appointment?
You make schedule an appointment, without a physician’s referral, by calling our Scheduling team at 239.936.4068.

More questions?
Give us a call at 239.936.2316 today!

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