Overview

A heart scan, also known as a coronary calcium scan, is a specialized X-ray test that provides pictures of your heart that can enable your doctor to detect and measure calcium-containing plaque in the arteries.

Plaque inside the arteries of your heart can eventually grow and restrict or block the flow of blood to the muscles of the heart. The measurement of calcified plaque with a heart scan may enable your doctor to identify possible coronary artery disease before you have signs and symptoms. The outcome of the test may indicate the need for medication or lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of heart attack or other heart problems.

Your doctor may order a heart scan if he or she would like to get a better understanding of your risk of heart disease or if there is uncertainty about a treatment plan.

April 30, 2016
References
  1. What is a coronary calcium scan? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/cscan/. Accessed Jan. 12, 2016.
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  3. Gerber TC, et al. Diagnostic and prognostic implication of coronary artery calcification detected by computed tomography. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 12, 2016.
  4. Alluri K, et al. Scoring of coronary artery calcium scans: History, assumptions, current limitations, and future directions. Atherosclerosis. 2015;239:109.
  5. Greenland P, et al. 2010 ACCF/AHA guideline for assessment of cardiovascular risk in asymptomatic adults. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2010;56:e50.
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