Coronary Calcium Screening CT - a Test for Coronary / Heart Disease
Coronary Calcium Screening CT is a non-invasive imaging procedure that identifies early calcification or plaque buildup in the arteries. Early calcium or plaque deposits clogging the heart’s blood vessels are usually symptom free and do not have any warning signs, but may put a person at risk for heart attack. Coronary Calcium Screening CT takes precise images of the heart as it pumps, detecting vessel abnormalities without invasive procedures. Persons undergoing Coronary Calcium Screening CT receive minimal exposure to low-dose radiation.
- Am I a candidate for the Coronary Calcium Screening CT?
One of the greatest advantages of Coronary Calcium Screening CT is early disease detection in those who are well but possibly at risk for coronary artery disease. Coronary Calcium Screening is recommended for adults who are concerned about their risk factors for coronary disease. Some of the risks for coronary artery disease are:
- Family history of heart disease
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Age over 50
- Family history of heart disease
- How does this test work?
A high-speed scanner, called a Multidetector CT, is used to capture many images of the heart. The scanner is synchronized with the patient’s heartbeat via an electrocardiogram (EKG) device. A computer program then scores the images for the presence and degree of calcification within the coronary arteries. The examination is simple, safe and painless (no needles) and there are no diet restrictions. The scan itself takes only a about ten minutes.
- What is involved in the Coronary Calcium Screening CT?
Plan enough time for patient registration in the California Campus lobby prior to proceeding to the radiology department. When you arrive for your test you be asked to complete a questionnaire. Once completed, a radiologic technologist will escort you to the scanning room. The technologist will place EKG leads on your chest enableing the scanner to take dozens of images during those fractions of a second between beats, when your heart is still.
- Is there any prep for the test?
Avoid caffeine, antihistamines, and chewing nicotine gum prior to your test, as they can elevate your heart rate, making it more difficult to obtain a high quality scan. No exercise just prior to exam, as it can also elevate your heart rate, making it more difficult to obtain a high quality scan.
- How are the results of the screening interpreted?
A computer program analyzes the extent of calcified coronary plaque in the entire coronary system. A board certified radiologist verifies this score. The higher your score, the greater your risk for heart disease in the future. A “zero” score is considered negative but does not rule out the possibility of the presence of “soft” noncalcified plaque. We will fax a report of the results to your ordering physician and you will receive the results on CD Rom along with a written report. Your Primary Care Physician can consult with you with regards to recommendations for medical and/or lifestyle treatments.
- Where do I go on the day of my scan?
The Coronary Calcium Screening CT is offered at California Pacific’s California Campus at 3700 California Street, San Francisco. Stop in outpatient registration prior to your test. Once your registration is complete you will be directed to the Department of Radiology located on the ground floor of the main hospital building to the left of the main corridor.
- Is the Coronary Calcium Screening CT covered by insurance?
The Coronary Calcium Screening is not currently covered under most insurance plans. Therefore, patients are responsible for all costs. Please pay for services at the time of registration. The registration office can only accept payment for services by major credit or debit cards and exact cash. (American Express, Discover, Visa, and MasterCard)
- How do I schedule an appointment?
Ask your Primary Care Physician if you are a candidate for this screening. If so, he or she can order the test. You or your physician’s office can schedule this exam by calling (415) 600-0800. Presently we are offering this service on Saturdays for your convenience.
Identifying the Best Treatment Options and Coronary Calcium Screening Specialist for You
Our commitment at CPMC is to help each patient identify the best doctor for their diagnosis and course of treatment. To find the best specialist for Coronary Calcium Screening , we want to empower our patients to participate in their health care journey. This means encouraging a frank discussion with the doctor about Coronary Calcium Screening, to identify all appropriate treatment options as well as to discuss symptoms, issues, outcomes, etc., when relevant for Coronary Calcium Screening. The first step of your journey is research - using online tools such as CPMC's to investigate and understand Coronary Calcium Screening. The second step is to schedule an initial consultation with a physician or specialist. In some cases, you'll need to go through your primary care physician if you do not have a referral. If you already have a referral,you can schedule an appointment directly with the Coronary Calcium Screening specialist. The third step is for the specialist in Coronary Calcium Screening to meet with you and review your history. As part of the diagnosis, you may need testing, so the doctor (surgeon or specialist) can discuss your treatment options and the both of you can determine your best course of action. We have patients at CPMC coming from throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, Northern California, and many from throughout the United States with respect to Coronary Calcium Screening. Whether you are from San Francisco, Marin, the San Francisco Bay Area generally or any other location, our physicians will provide the hands-on care you deserve.
California Pacific's Heart and Vascular Center
California Pacific's Heart and Vascular Center is supported by one of the best heart hospital/center networks in the USA, offering quality, comprehensive patient-centered cardiovascular care by a team of top heart surgeons and physicians with leading-edge technology. Serving the entire San Francisco Bay Area, including San Francisco and Marin County, as well as the entire Northern California region, our team has many of the best cardiovascular surgeons and physicians in California and the United States.