CT heart scan (Calcium scoring)
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Heart disease affects one in three people in the UK. Around 125,000 people suffer a heart attack each year in the UK, of whom, 50,000 people die without any prior symptoms.
Also known as Heart Scan or Calcium Score, the CT heart scan is a non-invasive and quick way to determine the presence, location and extent of calcified plaques in your coronary arteries – an indicator for atherosclerosis or coronary artery disease (CAD).
The information obtained can help evaluate whether you are at increased risk for heart attack.
You should consider a CT Heart Scan if you have one or more of the following symptoms or risk factors:
• Family history of heart disease, cancer, diabetes or stroke
• Chest discomfort or pain
• Shortness of breath
• High cholesterol
• High blood pressure
• Stressful or sedentary lifestyle
• Smokers or anyone who has a significant history of smoking
How it works:
The patient lies in the scanner and computerised images of the heart are acquired in a matter of minutes, using a low dose of radiation. The scanner is not claustrophobic and no needles or injections are required. The scan detects calcium build up in the coronary arteries, a component of the furring up process of coronary artery disease. A calcium score of zero, i.e. no calcium detected in the arteries, equates with a minimal, though not quite zero, risk of underlying coronary artery disease.