Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is the number one cause of death in the United States. This year alone, 650,000 Americans will have a new coronary (heart) attack and 450,000 Americans will have a recurrent heart attack. CAD caused more than 1 out of every 5 deaths in the U.S. in 2000, accounting for 681,000 lives lost.

Coronary artery disease is caused by narrowing or closure of the arteries that feed the heart itself. This narrowing is due to deposits of cholesterol and calcium that build up over time along the inside lining of the arteries.

An important screening tool, which involves computed tomography (CT or CAT) scanning, can help prevent heart attack. This process is called cardiac CT for calcium scoring. CT for calcium scoring is a non-invasive way of obtaining information about the location and extent of calcified plaque in the coronary arteries – vessels that supply oxygen-containing blood to the heart wall. Plaque is a build-up of fat and other substances, including calcium, which in time can narrow the arteries or even close off blood flow to the heart. The result may be painful angina in the chest or a heart attack.

This exam uses CT to scan the heart and detect calcium deposits along the walls of arteries, which can be one of the earliest signs of coronary artery diseases. The test then produces a calcium score that identifies patients’ level of deposits. Taking into account other factors such as age, family history, and cholesterol level, doctors use the score to measure patients’ potential for heart disease.

Early detection is key in preventing CAD. Holy Rosary Medical Center offers CT calcium scoring for less than $250, which includes interpretation of CT by a radiologist and the exam itself.

For more information contact Linda Scott, Director of Diagnostic Imagining, 181-7125 or click this link to the Cardiac Page.

Source- Radiology Info. 


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