Are you at risk of heart disease?
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. More than 600,000 Americans die of heart disease each year—which is one in every four deaths in this country.
If you have any risk factors for heart disease, Artesia General Hospital now offers a simple screening test called calcium scoring to determine your risk of developing heart disease.
Calcium scoring is a quick and painless CT scan that allows a technologist to identify build-ups of plaque (made of fat, calcium and other substances) that can accumulate and eventually narrow or even block arteries. The results of this test will help you and your primary care physician identify your risk and develop a plan to keep your heart healthy.
You do not need a physician’s referral for calcium scoring. Calcium scoring is usually not covered by insurance; the out-of-pocket cost of this scan is $95.
Who should receive this scan?
To receive calcium scoring, you must be a male between ages 40-65 or a female between the ages of 45-70 and have one or more of the following risk factors:
- Blood pressure greater than 140/90 mmHg
- Cholesterol level greater than 160 mg/dl (LDL)
- Current smoker
- Family history of heart disease
Should patients with heart disease receive this scan?
A calcium score is a screening tool for someone who may be at risk of heart disease—not to treat someone who already has heart disease. If you have had a heart attack, undergone coronary bypass surgery or had angioplasty with or without stent placement, you should not receive a calcium score heart scan.
What will happen the day of the scan?
You will be asked to lie still on a table as the CT scanner moves you through the doughnut-shaped opening for just a few seconds. There is no disturbing noise in the room, and you should not experience any discomfort. There are no injections or dyes involved, and you will not be required to disrobe. The scan emits a minimal level of radiation—only about one-third of the radiation that we receive from natural sources annually.
This scan does not require any special preparation, so feel free to eat and drink as you normally would the day of the scan. Take all of your medications at the usual times as prescribed by your doctor, unless directed otherwise.
How do I get the results of my test?
After your scan, a report will be sent to your primary care physician and any other specialist you request. Your physician will help you understand your score, as well as any recommended next steps.