• Heart Calcium Scoring

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death world-wide for both men and women*. Take a look at these statistics:

    • About 370,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 7 deaths.
    • Someone in the U.S. dies from heart disease about every 90 seconds.
    • Cardiovascular diseases claim more lives than all forms of cancer combined.
    • Cardiovascular disease is the leading global cause of death, accounting for 17.3 million deaths per year, a number that is expected to grow to more than 23.6 million by 2030.   

    (*The source for the health statistics is the American Heart Association’s 2015 Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics Update, which is compiled annually by the American Heart Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and other government sources.)

    It is more important than ever to take care of your heart! Knowing your risk factors is the key, and if you have two or more risk factors for cardiovascular disease the heart calcium score may be helpful to you. Heart calcium scoring can help identify your risk for heart disease. When you know what you’re facing, you can make lifestyle changes that may reduce your chances of suffering a heart attack, stroke or other forms of cardiovascular disease.  

    Early detection is the key to prevention. Penrose St. Francis is committed to your cardiovascular health, and, we're offering the Heart Calcium CT scan for only $149. Our team of cardiovascular specialists will help you determine your cardiovascular risk based on the results.

    • A cardiac nurse meets with each patient to review results on the day of the scan. 
    • In addition to the radiology report, recommendations are made by a cardiologist. 
    • A report is sent to your primary care physician.
    • To schedule an appointment for the heart calcium scan, please call 719-776-8080.

    What is Heart Calcium Scoring?
    Heart calcium scoring is a simple, convenient screening to identify coronary artery disease (CAD) using computerized tomography (CT). Calcium Scoring looks for calcium deposits in the walls of the coronary arteries, the vessels that supply oxygen-rich blood to the body. The amount of calcium found on this scan helps identify your risk for CAD and its complications. It can help your doctor determine the most appropriate treatment for slowing the progression of coronary artery disease. Calcium Scoring can be completed within 20-30 minutes, does not require the injection of contrast material and is accomplished with minimal radiation to the body.

    Who can benefit from Calcium Scoring?

    People with the following risk factors can benefit:

    • History of high cholesterol/triglyceride levels
    • Family history of heart disease
    • Diabetes 
    • High blood pressure 
    • Smoker - past of present
    • Being overweight or obese 
    • Men over 45 years old or women over 55 years old

    *PLEASE NOTE: Women should always inform the CT technologist and their physician if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.

    How do you prepare for this screening? 
    No special preparation is necessary. You may continue to take your usual medications but should avoid caffeine and smoking the morning of the scan. You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing.

    How does Calcium Scoring work? 
    Heart calcium scoring is painless, fast and easy. The technologist will begin by positioning you on the CT table and placing EKG leads on your chest to monitor your heart during the scan. The scan is usually performed while you are lying flat on your back with your arms raised above your head. The technologist will assure that you are comfortable on the table before the scan begins. The table will move through the scanner to determine the correct starting position and then move through again once the actual CT scan is performed. During the scan, you will be alone in the room but the technologist will be able to see, hear and communicate with you at all times. When the examination is complete, the technologist will ask you to wait until they verify that the images can be accurately interpreted. Immediately after the test you are able to return to normal activities. 

    What does your score mean?
    A negative scan (calcium score of “0”) shows no calcium within the coronary arteries and suggests that over the next two to five years that there is a low risk of an event related to Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). A positive scan means that CAD is present, and the amount of calcium helps predict the degree of coronary artery disease. A score greater than 400 indicates extensive coronary artery disease, which suggests that there is a high risk of a coronary event in the next two to five years. 

    How can you get tested? To schedule an appointment, please call 719-776-8080.

    Calcium Scoring is considered a screening, so it does not require a physician referral.  If you have risk factors for heart disease, calcium scoring may help you and your physician determine the best treatment for you. 

    What are the limitations of Calcium Scoring?

    • Most health insurance plans do not cover Heart Calcium Scoring. Please talk to your doctor if you have any questions about your insurance coverage or whether or not the test is appropriate for you.
    • A high heart rate may interfere with the test. If your heart rate is more than 90 beats per minute, the scan may need to be rescheduled.
    • This piece of equipment has a weight limit. Please check with your physician about any limitations.
    • If you are under the age of 50, CAD can still be present without calcium even if your calcium score is low.

    Watch Dr. Sanjay Gupta explore the signs, tests, and lifestyle changes that could result in "The Last Heart Attack."

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