What is coronary calcium scanning?
A HeartRisk scan – also known as coronary calcium scoring/scanning – measures the degree of calcium build up in the vessels of the coronary (heart) arteries. Coronary calcium scoring uses computed tomography (CT) to scan the heart, looking for hardening and narrowing of the arteries. Your calcium score is interpreted as a percentile indicating your risk of experiencing a major cardiac event, such as heart attack, over the next several years compared to others of your age and sex.
What does coronary calcium scanning involve?
You will be asked to undress from the waist up (a gown is provided). A technician will measure your blood pressure and perform a resting ECG. You will then be asked to lie on the CT scanner sliding bed and ECG leads will be attached to your chest. You will be asked to hold your breath for a few seconds whilst the bed moves through the scanner. You will not feel any discomfort during the procedure and there is no risk to you.
How long does coronary calcium scanning take?
The HeartRisk scan will take approximately 20 minutes.
How do I prepare for a coronary calcium scan?
You must avoid stimulants for four hours prior to your scan – this includes caffeinated drinks (coffee, tea, cola, etc.) and nicotine (smoking and vaping).
Avoid strenuous exercise prior to your scan.
It is recommended that you wear a two-piece outfit as you will need to strip off your top half to enable electrodes to be placed.
On arrival you will be asked to complete a questionnaire that asks your height, weight, family history, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels (if known). Please come prepared with this information if possible.
Do I need a referral?
Western Cardiology does not require patients to have a doctor’s referral for HeartRisk scanning. Please note that all other forms of cardiac testing do require a referral.