Procedure & Reasons For Conducting a Cardiac Calcium Scoring Test

Submitted on March 27, 2012

What is Cardiac Calcium Scoring?

As the term suggests, cardiac calcium scoring is a heart scan calcium score to check the build up of calcium on the walls of the coronary arteries. This heart scan is also known as coronary artery calcium scoring, calcium score scan, CT coronary calcium score and calcium scoring screening. This test is usually done to check the possibility of any heart diseases. The well being of the coronary arteries is important to the health of the heart and body because, it is through these arteries that the heart receives its blood supply.

Healthy and normally functioning arteries will never contain calcium deposits. Calcium deposit in the coronary arteries is an indication of (CAD), also known as Coronary Artery Disease. Calcified plaque or calcium deposits mainly occur due to accumulation of fat and other substances under the inner layer of the artery. The presence of such calcified plaque on walls of the coronary arteries can increase the risk of heart ailments and heart attacks.

Procedure To Conduct a Cardiac Calcium Scoring Test

A CT (Computed Tomography) scan is used to take pictures of the heart. The pictures are then recorded on the computer and can also be printed. The CT scanning procedure can be a difficult experience for some people. The physician may offer mild sedatives to help you through the CT scan. The CT scanners may revolve around the patient as it scans the body and records the images.

Overall, the CT scan is an easy non-invasive procedure that helps understand whether the patient is at an increased risk of contracting heart diseases or heart attacks. The CT scan requires minimal time and also leaves no side effects. Pregnant women are not asked to go through this test. Patients having previous history of angioplasty, bypass surgery and heart attack may not be asked to undergo this test.

Reasons Why It is Conducted

A Cardiac calcium score is indicative of coronary artery disease, the severity of a heart disease and also helps detect symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease. Having plaque or calcium deposits on the walls of the arteries of the heart does not necessarily imply the onset of heart diseases or Coronary Artery Disease. This test is usually used as a screening method to understand the severity of the disease. Certain health, lifestyle and genetic factors may contribute to Coronary Artery Disease. Some such factors are:

  • Heredity
  • Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Smoking
  • Sedentary or Inactive Lifestyle
  • Increased Weight Gain or Obesity
  • High Blood Cholesterol Levels