Annie Collum, BSN, RN
Annie Collum, BSN, RN is the RIA Senior Manager, Physician Liaison in Denver, Colorado
February 22, 2023heart health, medicine
Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring
Facts About Heart Disease
The primary cause of heart disease is the build-up of plaque in the arteries of the heart. This can cause the arteries to narrow. The plaque can also break away from the walls of the artery and cause a blockage. In either instance, the heart muscle does not receive enough blood flow, and a heart attack can occur.
Are you or someone you care for at risk for a heart attack?
The risk factors for heart disease are:
• Men 45 years and older
• Women 55 years and older
• Family history of premature heart disease
• High cholesterol levels
• Cigarette smoking
• High blood pressure/currently on blood pressure medication
• High-stress lifestyle
• Lack of regular exercise
• Overweight (20 pounds or more)
If you have two or more of these factors, you have an increased risk of heart disease.
Did you know?
• Heart disease is not an inevitable part of aging.
• One-and-a-half million Americans have heart attacks each year, and 30% of these heart attacks are fatal.
• On average, every 40 seconds, someone in the United States dies from heart disease.
• Coronary heart disease is the #1 killer of men and women in the United States.
• Based on the Framingham heart study, 5% of all heart attacks occur in people under age 40, and 45 % of all heart attacks occur in people under age 65.
• Most people who suffer heart attacks have only average or slightly elevated cholesterol levels.
• In about 50% of cases, the first sign of heart disease is sudden death.
• Coronary artery disease is treatable and preventable once you know your risk.
What can you do about it?
Discuss your cardiac health and risks with your physician.
HeartScreen CT is a noninvasive test to assess the presence and amount of coronary artery calcium in the coronary arteries and can help predict your future cardiac risk.
The test is performed on a fast multidetector CT (computed tomography) scanner.
HeartScreen CT is safe, is painless, has minimal radiation exposure, requires less than 15 minutes to perform and does not require contrast injection.
When you arrive, you will fill out a cardiac health assessment questionnaire. You will then undertake a comprehensive cardiac risk assessment, which includes:
• Blood pressure and heart rate measurement
• Height, weight and body mass index (BMI) measurement
• Clinical risk assessment, including family history, smoking and lifestyle factors
• HeartScreen CT results of total coronary calcium score and percentile ranking
HeartScreen CT is performed by a registered technologist. You will be asked to lie down, and electrocardiogram (EKG) leads will be placed on your chest. You will then be asked to hold your breath briefly while the CT scanner takes high-resolution images of your heart.
A board-certified radiologist will examine those images with advanced software to determine how much coronary calcium
is present. The amount of calcium or plaque is given a numerical score that is compared to that of others of your age and sex.
Our partners at Invision Sally Jobe offer coronary artery calcium scoring exams at four convenient locations throughout the Denver metro area:
• Aurora • Golden • Littleton • Parker
Visit InvisionSallyJobe.com for addresses and more information.
How will I get my results?
The results of your HeartScreen CT will be sent to you by mail within 10 days. Your primary physician or health care provider will also receive a full report.
In addition to your written report, our radiologist or clinical nurse will call you and your physician if your results are significantly abnormal.