Many times, people with heart disease* have few visible symptoms. Yet heart disease is the number one killer for both men and women in America.
Now there’s a non-invasive test that could save your life or the life of someone you love. The coronary artery calcium (CAC) score heart scan is an excellent screening tool that measures the amount of calcium (plaque) in the coronary arteries.
Calcium is medically proven to be a clinical marker for coronary artery disease and has been confirmed to be a powerful predictor of heart attacks, sudden death and other manifestations of coronary heart disease. This screening tool detects plaque years, or even decades, before stress testing or any other type of non-invasive technology. The sooner coronary artery disease is detected, the greater the chance it can be stopped or reversed, often by medication or simple lifestyle changes. The key is early detection.
Your Calcium Artery Calcium Score “Heart Scan”
Using a special state-of-the-art, high-speed CT scanner, we look inside the heart and its arteries for calcium build-up. This proven technology measures and scores the amount of blockage in the coronary arteries and helps determine your risk for heart disease.
Other traditional exams, such as treadmill stress tests, only help to detect restrictions of blood-flow, which occurs with more advanced blockages, whereas a coronary calcium score “heart scan” views the amount of calcium in the coronary arteries.
Are Screenings Covered By Insurance?
Because this is considered an elective screening, this procedure is not an insurance-covered benefit. We will not bill your insurance for these tests.
Note: A screening is a relatively low-cost test designed to identify normal from abnormal results and to then refer anyone with an abnormal screening result for further evaluation. Screening tests are paid for by the individual. There are more sophisticated tests; however, generally these tests are costly and unless there is a reasonable expectation that the test is warranted, most insurances will not cover the test.
What To Expect
This test is safe, painless and non-invasive. It takes about 15 minutes to complete and does not require you to undress for the test.
*A coronary artery calcium score “heart scan” is meant as a screening tool for someone who may be at risk for heart disease—if you have already been diagnosed with coronary artery disease, this test will unlikely provide additional information regarding your cardiovascular status.
A board-certified cardiologist will read and interpret your calcium score. The coronary artery calcification score measures the volume and distribution of calcification in the arteries of the heart.
The results of the calcium score help to identify those at risk so that corrective measures can be taken. Equipped with this information, your physician can recommend lifestyle changes to help slow, stop or even reverse heart disease.
Who Should Consider a Calcium Score Heart Scan?
You should consider a calcium scan if you are between ages 40-70 and at increased risk for heart disease but do not have symptoms. People at increased risk include those with the following traits: Family history of heart disease, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes.
Is there any reason why I should NOT have a Cardiac CT for Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring?
If you have already been diagnosed with coronary artery disease (CAD) this test will unlikely provide any additional information regarding your cardiovascular status. Experts agree that you should not get a calcium score heart scan if you’ve had a heart attack, undergone coronary bypass surgery, or had angioplasty with or without stent placement. If you are at high risk of heart disease, consult your doctor before having a calcium score screening. In these cases, you should already be under a doctor’s care for treatment of existing heart disease or aggressive prevention strategies. A calcium score is meant as a screening tool for someone who may be at risk of heart disease — not someone who already has heart disease.
Also, because of the radiation exposure, DO NOT get a CT scan if you’re pregnant.
Please note: Our CT scan equipment can only accommodate patients up to 400 lbs.
Know Your Heart Disease Risk Factors
You may have an increased chance of developing heart disease if you are over age 45 and have even one of these risk factors:
Family history of cardiovascular disease
Shortness of breath, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, light-headedness, dizziness or loss of consciousness
Previous heart attack or stroke
Heart murmur diagnosis
High blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol
Chronic lung condition
Schedule a Screening Appointment
We are happy to assist you in scheduling a Baton Rouge Cardiology Center screening appointment.
You may send a request to us through our online form here. You may also speak with a scheduling representative directly at (225) 214-7730.