Cardiac Calcium Scoring

Why Cardiac Calcium Scoring?

Cardiac Calcium Scoring is used to diagnose Coronary Artery Disease (C.A.D) in asymptomatic patients. A non-invasive way of obtaining information about the presence, location and extent of calcified plaque in the arteries – the vessels that supply oxygenated blood to the heart. To undertake this scan, a CT scanner is used. CT scanning is a sensitive diagnostic tool that uses X-rays to take a series of two dimensional cross-sectional images (‘slices’) around an axis.

We undertake this scan in our centre in Mater Private Cork.

It’s important that you tell us
before the CT scan if you:

  • are (or might be) pregnant / breastfeeding
  • have decreased renal (kidney) function
  • have any allergies or asthma
  • are diabetic and taking metformin

A Calcium Scoring Scan is €200

CT Scan
  • Calcified plaque is a build-up of fat and other substances under the inner layer of the artery. This material can calcify along the vessel wall and lead to the more serious condition of coronary artery disease (CAD). People with this disease have an increased risk of heart attacks. Over time, CAD can narrow the arteries or even close off blood flow to the heart. The result of this may be chest pain, sometimes called “angina,” or something as serious as a heart attack.As calcium is a marker of CAD, the amount of calcium detected on a cardiac CT scan is a helpful tool for diagnosing patients at higher risk of developing the condition.  The findings of a cardiac CT  scan are expressed as a calcium score, also known as coronary artery calcium scoring. 
  • High Blood cholesterol levels
  • Family History of heart attacks
  • Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Physical Inactivity
  • Your referring clinician will receive your results in a score format:
    • 0 – Negative test: significant obstructive luminal disease is highly unlikely. A negative cardiac CT scan for Calcium Scoring shows no calcification within the coronary arteries. This suggests that C.A.D. is absent or so minimal it cannot be seen on the CT scan.
    • >100 – High Calcium Score: above – average risk of a cardiac event in the following five years. A positive test means C.A.D. is present, regardless of whether or not the patient is experiencing symptoms. The amount of calcification present is expressed as a calcium score.
    • >1000 – Very High Calcium Score: high risk of a cardiac event.
  • Please wear loose, comfortable clothing.
  • Please confirm your appointment prior to your scan if requested and arrive in plenty of time.
  • Please let us know if you have any disabilities so that we can ensure we are able to offer you the highest quality service
  • Once you’ve checked in at reception (don’t forget to bring your appointment letter), a member of the radiography team will meet you, explain the procedure and ask you to sign a consent form.
  • We might ask you to change into a hospital gown. We’ll provide somewhere to store your personal possessions. You’ll be looked after by the radiography team throughout the procedure – they will explain what’s happening and will be there if you experience any discomfort.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to ask any questions about the procedure.
  • The Radiographer operating the scanner will be able to see and hear you throughout the procedure.
  • We’ll ask you to lie down on the scanner bed and we’ll make sure you’re comfortable so you can stay as still as possible – we might have to ask you to hold your breath or not to swallow when the scanner is taking the images.
  • Most scan sessions last between 15 and 30 minutes.
  • You’re welcome to bring a friend or a relative with you, but for safety reasons we won’t allow them into the examination room.
  • There are no restrictions on normal activity – you can eat and drink normally, drive and return to work immediately after the scan.
  • A Radiologist will examine the images shortly after your visit and send a report to your Doctor or Consultant, normally within a few days.
  • For ethical and professional reasons, we cannot discuss results with you. Only your Doctor or Consultant can do this.
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