Heart and Vascular Health

Consider a Heart Scan for Calcium Scoring

A heart scan helps doctors to assess a person's risk for heart disease by revealing calcium plaque in coronary arteries.

Heart Scan for Calcium Scoring to Lower Your Risk of a Heart Attack

Peace of mind about your health is invaluable, especially when you're at risk for heart disease. Today there is a quick test that can help save lives and restore peace of mind. A noninvasive heart scan for calcium scoring is a reliable way for doctors to assess a person's risk for heart disease by revealing calcium plaque in coronary arteries.

SCHEDULE YOUR HEART SCAN

Traditionally, doctors have used a standard formula based on several health and lifestyle criteria - weight, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and whether or not the person is a smoker - to predict the risk for developing cardiovascular disease. But more and more, doctors are relying on calcium scoring as a screening tool to identify the potential risk for patients to experience a heart attack.

Heart scan for calcium scoring is:

  • Quick – A heart scan for calcium scoring generally takes less than 10 minutes.
  • Completely painless – Heart scans for calcium scoring are done via CT Scan and are totally non-invasive.
  • Inexpensive – Self-pay cost is only $49, a small price to pay for peace of mind regarding your heart health.
  • An excellent diagnostic tool – When utilized as a preventative diagnostic tool, a heart scan for calcium scoring allows treatment for heart disease to begin before a heart attack occurs, often before symptoms are even present.

Who Should Consider a Heart Scan for Calcium Scoring?

A heart scan for calcium scoring offers peace of mind to anyone concerned about heart disease. It is appropriate when no evidence of heart disease is present, yet risk factors for cardiac disease exist:

  • Family history of heart disease.
  • Men and women 40+ years of age.
  • High blood pressure and/or high cholesterol.
  • Diabetes.
  • Overweight or physically inactive.
  • Tobacco usage.
  • Stressful lifestyle.

Because a heart scan for calcium scoring can definitively identify the presence of calcium plaque in the arteries, it identifies the existence of heart disease as well as the risk for future heart attack. This is true even if the person doesn't have any of the traditional risk factors or symptoms of heart disease

What happens during a CT heart scan?

The procedure is performed by a CT technologist with the assistance of a radiologist.

Once you arrive, you may have to change into a gown if there is any metal on your clothing. The technologist will explain the procedure to you and escort you to the CT room.

You will lie on your back on the CT table and EKG electrodes will be placed on your chest to monitor your heart rate. The CT table will move in very small increments every few seconds and take pictures.

You may be asked to hold your breath for 20 to 30 seconds, and you will need to hold perfectly still. Even though you will be left alone in the room, the technologist will watch you through a window, and you will be able to speak to him or her. The scan takes approximately 20-30 seconds, but from start to finish it takes approximately 10-15 minutes.

Understanding the Numbers

0: No plaque. Your risk of heart attack is low. 

1 – 10: Small amount of plaque. Your risk of heart attack is low. 

11 – 100: Some plaque. You have mild heart disease and a moderate chance of heart attack. Your doctor may recommend other treatment, in addition to lifestyle changes.

101 – 400: Moderate amount of plaque. You have heart disease and plaque may be blocking an artery. Your chance of having a heart attack is moderate to high.

Over 400: Large amount of plaque. You have more than a 90% chance that plaque is blocking one of your arteries. Your chance of heart attack is higher than normal. Your doctor may want to order additional tests.

** Please discuss your scores with a healthcare provider.

Call to Schedule a CT Scan:

Ascension Columbia St. Mary's Hospital Milwaukee
Milwaukee
414-326-1800

Ascension Columbia St. Mary's Hospital Ozaukee
Mequon
414-326-1800

Ascension Columbia St. Mary's Milwaukee at Gateway Medical Clinic
West Allis
414-773-6647

Ascension All Saints Hospital
Racine
414-527-5000

Ascension SE Wisconsin Hospital - Elmbrook Campus
Brookfield
414-527-5000

Ascension SE Wisconsin Hospital - Franklin Campus
Franklin
414-527-5000

Ascension St. Francis Hospital
St. Francis
414-527-5000

Ascension SE Wisconsin Hospital - St. Joseph Campus
Milwaukee
414-527-5000

Why choose Ascension in Wisconsin