Heart CT Screening for Coronary Artery Calcification (CT Calcium Score)

Current guidelines recommend heart screening by CT scan for patients between 40-75 years old that have between 5 and 20% 10-year risk of ASCVD- atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (commonly known as heart disease) and there is uncertainty on the benefit of treating with medication to lower cholesterol.

Lloyd-Jones DM, Braun LT, Ndumele CE, Smith Jr SC, Sperling LS, Virani SS, Blumenthal RS, Use of Risk Assessment Tools to Guide Decision-Making in the Primary Prevention of Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease, Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2018) doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2018.11.005

Emory Healthcare is committed to your heart and vascular health. Therefore, we're providing heart screenings in select patients, with a doctor's order for $100.

To determine your personal risk for heart disease you should discuss your lifestyle and overall health history with your doctor. The ACC/AHA ASCVD Risk Estimator Plus is a tool that will help your doctor determine your 10-year risk of heart disease considering the following factors:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Smoking History
  • Blood Pressure and any treatment for lowering blood pressure
  • Cholesterol Levels
  • Glucose Levels (history of diabetes)

Your calcium score (a measurement of hard plaque in the vessels of your heart) coupled with the overall risk assessment will guide a shared decision conversation between you and your doctor on a personalized prevention strategy.

According to the current guidelines: If you have no coronary calcium, you and your doctor can consider avoiding or postponing drug therapy taking into consideration your other contributing risk factors (personal smoking history, family history of heart disease, etc.). For scores between 1-99 AU and less than 75th percentile, you may consider medication therapy now or postpone drug treatment and repeat the CT calcium screening in 5 years in consultation with your physician. For all patients with a score ≥ 100 AU ≥ 75th percentile, drug treatment is recommended.

* Note that this test is for screening and primary prevention. CT Calcium Score is not recommended in patients who have prior placement of coronary stents or coronary artery bypass (CABG).

 

CT CALCIUM SCORE: Calcium CT Screening For Coronary Artery Calcification
(AKA: Heart Screening, Heart CT Scan, Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring)

CT Calcium Score Is a CT scan of the heart to measure the amount of coronary calcification or hard plaque in the vessels of the heart.

Images from state-of-the-art CT scanners at Emory are used to measure the amount of calcium (hard plaque) in your coronary arteries. The presence of calcium is an accurate marker of atherosclerosis, which is the hardening of the arteries caused by the buildup of plaque. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium and other substances found in the blood. Two-thirds of heart attacks are caused by the rupture of plaques which do not significantly narrow the coronary artery. Your calcium score measures plaque burden on your arteries. Your calcium score will be provided in terms of both an absolute score and percentile based upon age, gender, and ethnicity. The percentile is a measure of how many people with similar background have less calcium than you and provides a measure of relative risk.

Please discuss this screening and your personal risk for heart disease with your doctor to determine if a CT Calcium Score is right for you. An order is required at time of scheduling.

There is no prep for this scan. You may follow your regular diet and take your medications as prescribed on the day of your test. Dress comfortably, you will be required to lay flat. Electrode (EKG) stickers will be placed on your chest to allow your images to be timed with your heartbeat to avoid motion. You will be asked to raise your arms beside your head for 2-5 minutes while the technologist does your scan.

Heart CT Scan: The Emory Advantage

We know you have many options for choosing your Heart CT scan and thank you for considering Emory for your healthcare needs. As you consider your decision, take a moment to learn about "The Emory Advantage" and what makes our Heart scan offer unique.

All Heart CT Scans done at Emory facilities are performed on 64-slice or greater CT scanners that do not require any medication to slow your heart rate.

At Emory, your Heart CT will be read by a cardiologist or a radiologist who are subspecialized in interpreting and diagnosing abnormalities and diseases of the heart. As a teaching and research institution, our providers stay current on medical advancements and are often directly involved in creating new guidelines for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease.

This screening is offered at five convenient locations. Emory University Hospital Tower on Clifton Rd., Emory University Hospital Midtown, Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital, and Emory Johns Creek Hospital.

The cost of your heart screening is $100.

An order is required to schedule a coronary artery calcium score.

Please discuss your interest in heart screening with your doctor to determine if it is the right test for you.

Scheduling:

To schedule your heart screening at the following locations:
Emory University Hospital
Emory University Hospital Midtown
Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital
Emory Buford Imaging Center

Please call 404-778-7226 (SCAN), option 1

To schedule at Emory Johns Creek Hospital, please call 678-474-8100, option 2.

An order from your doctor or healthcare provider is required at time of scheduling. If you do not have a doctor and would like assistance finding an Emory Healthcare provider, please call Emory Health Connection: 404-778-7777.