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CT calcium score screenings
A cardiac CT scan for coronary calcium is a painless, fast, easy and non-invasive method of obtaining information about the presence, location and extent of calcified plaque in the coronary arteries and, therefore, a person’s risk of heart attack.
The presence of calcified plaque signals atherosclerosis, a disease of the vessel wall, also called coronary artery disease (CAD) or hardening of the arteries. Over time, as the disease progresses with additional plaque build-up, the arteries can narrow or even close off blood flow to the heart. Although there may be symptoms of chest pain, also called angina, that is not always the case. A patient can be at risk of a heart attack and exhibit no symptoms, which is why the CT scan for calcium is critical.
At Sanford Health, the Aquilion ONE, the world’s most advanced CT scanner, is used to perform the cardiac CT calcium scan. It provides incredibly detailed four-dimensional images of the heart and other organs in less time than it takes for your heart to pump one beat.
Once your scan is completed, a calcium scoring will be assessed. A negative cardiac CT scan for calcium indicates no calcification in the coronary arteries, which means that CAD is absent or minimal. This result means you have a very low risk of heart attack in the next two to five years.
A positive test means that CAD is present. The amount of calcification is then expressed as a score and indicates the likelihood of a heart attack:
The results of the scan will be read by a radiologist and reported to your doctor.
Know your risk factorsSome people have a greater likelihood of having CAD based on these risk factors:
Additionally, men are generally at greater risk of CAD, but the risk increases for women after menopause.
Getting a cardiac CT calcium scan does not require a doctor’s referral. Even without a referral, it is still considered a very cost-effective self-pay procedure for identifying a person’s heart attack risk.
For more information about CT calcium scans or to make an appointment, please call 701.323.5210
General information: 701.323.5210