Studies have shown the risk of coronary heart disease increases with higher calcium scores. Calcium buildup can also lead to atherosclerosis, a metabolic and inflammatory disease that causes plaque to accumulate in the arteries. By measuring and assigning a score to the amount of calcification in asymptomatic patients according to age, we can determine their likelihood of developing heart disease.
The nationally renowned cardiovascular services team at the Robert Paine, MD Heart Institute maintains a high standard of achievement by providing specialized services and individualized care for patients and their families. As part of this commitment, we are pleased to offer calcium scoring using the 64-slice CT scan at the new Desloge Outpatient Center. This new advanced and non-invasive test uses computerized tomography (CT) to scan the heart and look for calcium deposits.
How The Test Works
Using St. Luke's 64-slice CT scan, technologists will create a clear, two-dimensional view of the heart and arteries. These images are then analyzed for the presence of calcium within the arteries. Patients will receive their results upon scan completion. Final results are sent to your physician. Patients with a moderate to high score are referred back to their primary care physician or to a St. Luke's physician.
Patients Who Benefit
Men 35 and older or women 45 and older with at least one coronary risk factor:
Men 45 and older and women 55 and older without risk factors should consider having the scan. People with diabetes who are 30 and older should also consider having the scan.
However, people who are pregnant, who already know they have heart disease, who weigh more than 300 pounds or who are over 70 years of age should not take the test.
Because of exposure to radiation, patients should be informed of the risk. The effective radiation dose from this procedure is equivalent to 25 chest x-rays for males and 33 chest x-rays for females. However, the potential benefit of the scan likely outweighs the minimal risk of the scan's radiation exposure.
Patients need a physician order to schedule an appointment. For questions about the scan, please call 314-205-6565.
The Heart Scan Process
Although actual scan time is about ten to fifteen minutes, patients should allow one hour for their appointment. If the patient shows significant deposits, they will be referred back to their primary care physician for further testing and consultation.
The screening costs $125 and is not currently covered by insurance. Payment is due at time of service.