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CT Calcium Score

What Is CT Calcium Scoring?

CT Calcium Scoring is used to detect coronary artery disease (CAD) at an early stage in patients who have risk factors for CAD but no clinical symptoms. CT Calcium Scoring calculates the amount of calcium in the coronary arteries—the vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart. Over time, calcium build-up can narrow the arteries or even close off blood flow to the heart, which can result in chest pain or a heart attack.

The procedure is usually performed in men age 45 or older and women age 55 or older. Besides age, other risk factors for CAD include:

  • Family history of heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • High blood cholesterol levels
  • History of cigarette smoking
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Being physically inactive

CT Calcium Scoring is a convenient and non-invasive way of evaluating the coronary arteries. More than half of all heart attacks occur when there is less than 50 percent narrowing of the coronary arteries. This level of narrowing cannot be reliably detected on standard cardiac tests, but CT Calcium Scoring can suggest the presence of CAD even when there is less than 50 percent narrowing. However, not all calcium deposits in the coronary arteries produce a blockage, and not all blocked arteries contain calcium. In addition, CT Calcium Scoring cannot detect the earliest form of coronary artery disease (soft plaque) since it usually does not contain calcium deposits.

CT Calcium Scoring is not routinely covered by most health insurance plans and may be available only on a self-pay basis. If an abnormality is detected that requires further imaging tests or intervention, these additional procedures are usually covered by most health insurance plans.

How Should I Prepare?

No special preparations are necessary.

What Should I Expect?

After you arrive for your appointment, you will be escorted to a procedure room, where you will be asked to change into a patient gown. You should remove all jewelry and other removable items such as glasses, dentures, and hearing aids. Women should always inform their technologist if there is any possibility of pregnancy.

During the exam you will lie on a table that moves into the doughnut-shaped scanner. Electrodes (small metal discs) will be attached to your chest and to an electrocardiograph (ECG) machine, which makes it possible to obtain the CT images when the heart is not actively contracting. Your technologist will watch you through an observation window and will be able to communicate with you at all times. CT scans are non-invasive and painless, though you will hear humming, buzzing, or clicking sounds as the CT machine moves to position you. It is very important to follow all instructions and remain still during scanning in order to obtain clear images. The scan is usually completed within 10 minutes. After the exam, you can return to your normal activities.

For your safety and the protection of others, we do not allow anyone other than patients in our exam rooms.

How Do I Get The Results?

After your study, the images will be evaluated by one of our board-certified radiologists with expertise in cardiac imaging. A final report will be sent to your doctor or healthcare provider, who can then discuss the results with you in detail.

Reports are also available on the <a class=”buttonMyRad” href=”/patients/patient-portal/”>MyRAD Patient Portal</a>

Cardiac Imaging Team

Shalini Guliani-Chabra, M.D.

  • Specialties:
    Body Imaging, General Radiology
  • Education:
    University of Mumbai, 1993
    M.D University of Mumbai, 1998
  • Internship:
    Internal Medicine, New York Medical College, 2002-2003
  • Residency:
    Diagnostic Radiology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, 2004-2008
  • Fellowship:
    Abdominal Imaging, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, 2008-2009
  • Board Certifications:
    ABR 2008

Shaun P. McManimon, M.D.

  • Specialties:
    General Radiology, Interventional Radiology
  • Education:
    B.S. – Boston University, 1983
    M.S. – University of Michigan, 1986
    M.D. – University of Michigan, 1988
  • Internship:
    General Surgery, Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center (San Antonio), 1989-1990
  • Residency:
    Diagnostic Radiology, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center (Phoenix), 1993-1997
  • Fellowship:
    Interventional Radiology, University of Colorado, 1997-1998
  • Board Certifications:
    ABR 1997; CAQ Interventional Radiology 1999, 2011

With Radiology Ltd. since 1998

Tamara F. Lundeen, M.D.

  • Specialties:
    Cardiothoracic Imaging, General Radiology, Molecular Imaging
  • Education:
    B.S. - University of Arizona, 2002
    M.S. - Duke University, 2007
    M.D. -University of Arizona, 2013
  • Internship:
    Medicine, University of Arizona, 2013-2014
  • Residency:
    Radiology, University of Arizona, 2014-2018
  • Fellowship:
    Nuclear Radiology, University of Arizona, 2017-2018
    Cardiothoracic Imaging, University of Arizona, 2018-2019
  • Board Certifications:
    ABR 2017

Meet Anne, Tucson nurse

Anne has a family history of heart disease. As a registered nurse and an avid runner, she wanted to stay on top of her health. Her doctor recommended she get a CT Calcium Scoring test in Tucson, which evaluates for heart disease in its earliest stages. A CT Calcium Scoring test is easy and painless and gave Anne the peace of mind she needed to maintain her active lifestyle.

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