By Michael MacDonald
According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular diseases (heart attacks and strokes) are the primary cause of increasing deaths worldwide. Figures show that a quarter of patients who experience myocardial infarction display no clinical manifestations. The CT Coronary Calcium score, can help predict cardiovascular events and prevent death. It is a simple test that calculates the amount of calcium in your heart arteries. More calcium equals more coronary artery disease.
Calcium score plays a critical role in cardiac risk stratification or calculating the probability of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD). Also called Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring (CACS), calcium scoring involves cardiac computed tomography (CT). It shows the basic structures of the heart, particularly coronary arteries, and identifies calcium present in the blood vessels. A deposit of calcium indicates coronary artery disease.
The scan is done in a CT scanner. There are no injections, and it is a very quick test with low radiation. It only takes less than 30 minutes. Once the scan is done, the radiographer will then calculate the level of calcium (calcium score) and your report will compare your score to other people of a similar age group and sex.
A calcium score of 0 denotes low risk for heart attack.
Calcium score is a safe and simple test that can be performed in under half an hour. It is an excellent tool to help in the calculation of cardiac risk. Its real utility lies in helping decide who needs treatment to prevent heart attacks.