Cardiac computed tomography (CT) for calcium scoring uses special x-ray equipment to examine the coronary arteries. The exam can determine your risk for heart disease. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women in America, but it is largely preventable. If detected early, it can be stopped or reversed. Cardiac screenings are of particular importance to patients with multiple risk factors for heart disease such as family history of heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, smoking, lack of exercise, poor diet and a high-stress lifestyle.
You will be comfortably positioned on a CT table, and you may be supported by pillows to help you stay in the proper position during the procedure. The table will move slowly into the opening of the CT scanner, and very small, controlled amounts of x-ray radiation will pass through your body. Your radiologist will examine the coronary arteries and determine if they are blocked or narrowed by the buildup of calcium deposits, which is an indicator for atherosclerosis or coronary artery disease (CAD).
You will be instructed not to eat or drink anything and to avoid caffeine and smoking for four hours prior to the exam. Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing, without zippers or snaps. Women should inform the technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant. Patient lockers are available for jewelry and other valuable items; however, you are encouraged to leave all jewelry at home during procedures.
For more detailed information about CT procedures visit: www.radiologyinfo.org