HEART CT CALCIUM RISK SCORE
Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring (CAC) is a non-invasive method of measuring coronary artery calcification using computed tomography (CT). It estimates, with good statistical correlation, the amount of atherosclerotic plaque in your heart’s arteries. This can predict the chance of future myocardial infarction (heart attack) and mortality from cardiovascular disease.
Finding out early about a potentially fatal disease, such as coronary artery atherosclerosis, before you have any symptoms, can profoundly influence your future behaviour and significantly reduce your risk of heart attack and premature death if you adopt healthy lifestyle choices.
Multiple studies show patients change their risk profile, by changing what they eat, obtaining regular exercise, ceasing smoking, and losing weight. Patients are more likely to stick to medications that lower cholesterol or blood pressure, if these are needed. Sometimes patients can make a choice not to start medications, if their calcium score predicts a low risk of heart attack or stroke.
The fact that heart disease can be diagnosed in patients as early as in their 40’s or 50’s with the first sign being a fatal heart attack, means that early detection of significant heart artery atherosclerosis can literally save lives, if the high risk profile is changed over time. Survivors of acute infarction are frequently left with disabling, life changing symptoms because the heart muscle is often permanently damaged or even destroyed when the first warning symptom is a heart attack.
Survivors of acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) may be left with disabling symptoms, for example chest pain that occurs when they walk a short distance or do normal daily activities. Detection of disease before the onset of symptoms is appealing to the patient and as a health and well-being outcome for the community.
Coronary artery calcium (CAC) scoring as a screening test is backed by good quality evidence fto inform both doctors and patients. Latest recommendations have been included in the Expert Consensus Statement released by the Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography in 2017.
Is it covered by Medicare?
It is not covered by Medicare, but a CAC scoring can be requested by your family doctor. The cost is $150, and the scan last approximately 10 minutes. You can pay over the phone when you make your booking, or pay when you arrive for your scan.
Where can I get my calcium score done ?
We offer this CT scan at our clinics in Woodville, Goodwood, Payneham, and Elizabeth.
What does a CAC CT scan show ?
If your calcium grading is high, your chance of a heart attack or stroke is increased, and the higher your calcium, the higher your risk over the next 5-10 years.