Looking to get a heart scan for coronary calcium?
Do you need to get an order for a CT coronary artery calcium (CAC) score? If so, you're likely wondering what steps you need to take to get an order for the test. Let's look at the process for getting an order for a CT coronary artery calcium score, from understanding the test to finding the right provider. We'll also provide advice on how to make sure you get the best possible results from the test.
What is a CT Coronary Artery Calcium Score?
The Coronary Artery Calcium Score (CAC) is a noninvasive test used to measure the amount of calcified plaque in the heart arteries. It is used to assess the risk of developing coronary artery disease (CAD) and to determine the need for further testing and treatment. The CACS is calculated by combining the results of a CT scan of the heart with the patient's age, sex, and risk factors. The higher the score, the higher the risk of developing CAD.
Why is a CT Coronary Artery Calcium Score a good test?
A CT Coronary Artery Calcium Score is a good test because it is a non-invasive way to measure the amount of calcified plaque in the coronary arteries. It is a reliable predictor of the risk of developing coronary artery disease and can help guide further testing and treatment. The CAC is a quick and accurate way to evaluate the risk of CAD and can be used to follow up with patients who have already been diagnosed with the disease. Additionally, it can be used to help identify patients who may be at risk of developing CAD but have not yet been diagnosed.
What would be considered a bad CT Coronary Artery Calcium Score?
A bad CT Coronary Artery Calcium Score would be anything above 400. A score of 400 or higher indicates a high risk of coronary artery disease.
Does a CT coronary Artery scan test for all types of plaque?
No. The CT coronary artery scan only tests for calcified, or "hard", plaque, which is one type of plaque. Other types of plaque, such as non-calcified plaque and lipid-rich plaque, cannot be detected with this scan. Sometimes a CT coronary angiogram is recommended to evaluate for soft plaque.
Are you considering whether or not to take a statin?
If so, you may want to consider getting a CT Coronary Artery Calcium (CAC) score. This test can provide important information about your risk for coronary artery disease (CAD).
CAD is the leading cause of death in the United States. It is a type of cardiovascular disease that can cause a heart attack or stroke if left untreated. A CAC score can determine how much calcium has built up in the coronary arteries. The higher the score, the higher the risk for CAD.
A CAC score is a noninvasive test that takes just a few minutes. During the test, you will lie on a table while a scanner takes pictures of your heart. The pictures are then analyzed to measure the amount of calcium deposits in the coronary arteries. The score is reported as a number between 0 and 400.
The American Heart Association suggests that people with a CAC score of more than 100 should take statin medications, which can help reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke. People with a CAC score between 10 and 99 are considered to have intermediate risk. People with a CAC score of less than 10 are considered to have low risk.
It’s important to note that the CAC score is not a substitute for a medical evaluation. If your CAC score is high, it’s important to talk to your doctor about your risk factors for CAD and whether you should take a statin.
If you’re considering whether or not to take a statin, getting a CAC score can help you make an informed decision. It can provide important information about your risk for coronary artery disease and can help you decide if a statin would be beneficial for you.
What are the benefits of obtaining a CT Coronary Artery Calcium score?
1. A CT coronary Artery Calcium score can help determine a person's risk of developing heart disease and help inform preventive treatment strategies.
2. The test is non-invasive, quick, and painless.
3. It can detect subtle signs of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) that may not be visible on traditional imaging tests such as X-ray or MRI.
4. It can provide information about the extent and location of calcified plaque in the coronary arteries which may indicate an increased risk for future cardiac events such as a heart attack or stroke.
5. An overall score from this test can be used to assess a person's risk for cardiovascular disease, enabling early intervention strategies to reduce that risk if needed.
Steps to Obtain an Order for a CT Coronary Artery Calcium Score
- Find a physician or healthcare provider licensed in your state who can refer you for diagnostic imaging. At CirrusMED, simply search here.
- Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss the need for a CT coronary artery calcium score.
- Your doctor will review your medical history and any current symptoms you may be experiencing.
- Your doctor will order a CT coronary artery calcium score if they believe it is necessary.
- You will then be referred to an imaging center where they will perform the CT scan.
- The radiologist will provide the results of the scan to your doctor.
- Your doctor will discuss the results with you and provide any necessary treatment or further testing.
Preparing for the Exam
a. Wear Loose Clothing and Remove Jewelry
b. Inform the Radiologist of Allergies or Previous Implantations
c. Follow Any Pre-Exam Instructions
After the Exam
a. Receive Results
b. Follow Up with Radiologist for Questions
How to make sure you get the best possible results from a coronary calcium scan
Although this test is not new, there are still some tips to consider when undergoing a CT coronary artery calcium score test. Here are some tips on how to make sure you get the best possible results from a CT coronary artery calcium score test.
1. Make sure that you understand the test and the results. Before you undergo the test, make sure you know what it is and what the results mean. The test is used to measure the amount of calcium in the arteries of your heart. Higher calcium levels can indicate that you have a greater risk for CAD.
2. Talk to your doctor about any concerns or questions you may have before the test. Make sure that you understand the test and the results and that you are comfortable with the procedure.
3. Follow your doctor’s instructions. Be sure to follow all of the instructions provided by your doctor before the test. This includes not eating or drinking anything for several hours before the test.
4. Make sure you get plenty of rest before the test. You should make sure that you are well-rested before the test. This will help make sure that you are relaxed and in the best possible condition to receive the best results.
5. Avoid any activities that could cause your heart rate to increase. Doing activities such as running or jogging can increase your heart rate and make it more difficult for the test to get accurate results.
6. Follow up with your doctor. After the heart test has been completed, make sure to follow up with your doctor to discuss any results or further tests that may be necessary.
By following these tips, you can make sure that you get the best possible results from a CT coronary artery calcium score test. It is important to understand the test and the results and to follow your doctor’s instructions before, during, and after the test. By doing so, you can help ensure that you get the best possible results.
Getting an order for a CT Coronary Artery Calcium Score can be done in a few easy steps. First, contact your healthcare provider and ask if they are able to place the order. If they are not, you can ask them to refer you to a specialist or radiologist who can place the order. Once an appointment is scheduled, you will need to complete any paperwork and provide any necessary information about your medical history and current health condition. On the day of your appointment, a technician will perform the scan, which typically takes about five minutes. Afterwards, the results will be sent to your healthcare provider, who will then discuss the results with you and determine if further imaging tests or treatments are required. Ultimately, you want to work with your provider to reduce your chance of having a heart attack.