A heart computerized tomography (CT) scan, also called calcium-score screening heart scan, is a test used to detect calcium deposits found in atherosclerotic plaque in the coronary arteries of heart disease patients. State-of-the-art computerized tomography (CT) methods, such as this one, are the most effective way to detect coronary calcification from atherosclerosis, before symptoms develop. More coronary calcium means more coronary atherosclerosis, suggesting a greater likelihood of significant narrowing somewhere in the coronary system and a higher risk of future cardiovascular problems.
Can a few drinks really be good for your heart? Yes, but only a few, and not for everyone.
Moderate drinking -- no more than 1 drink a day for women and 2 for men -- appears to protect some people against heart disease.
One drink is 12 ounces of beer or wine cooler, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.
Alcohol may help your heart in these ways:
It raises HDL or "good" cholesterol.
It lowers blood pressure.
It stops blood from clotting. This can be good or bad. It may...
Because there are certain forms of coronary disease, such as "soft plaque" atherosclerosis, that escape detection during this CT scan, it is important to remember that this test is not absolute in predicting your risk for a life-threatening event, such as a heart attack.
Your doctor may also order a coronary CT angiogram (CTA) to look directly at the arteries of the heart. With the CTA, pictures of your coronary arteries are made. This is regularly performed in addition to a heart CT scan now.
How Should I Prepare for a Heart CT Scan?
You may continue to take any medications, but should avoid caffeine and smoking for four hours before the test. CT scanners use X-rays. For your safety, the amount of radiation exposure is kept to a minimum. But, because X-rays can harm a developing fetus, this procedure is not recommended if you are pregnant. Tell your technologist and your doctor if you are: