CT Calcium Scoring

How Healthy is Your Heart?

When you consider that there is 1 heart attack every 2 minutes in this country, you will be aware that heart disease is an increasingly common problem. If discovered early enough however, you can reduce your risk immensely.

Rivers Hospital's CT Heartscan uses Calcium Scoring technology to detect and measure calcium in your coronary arteries. If calcium is detected it is likely that coronary artery disease could be present. More importantly if no calcium is detected, this suggests you are at low risk of a heart attack. Our scanner can detect calcium at a very early stage of coronary artery disease, even before any significant blockage has developed and potentially years before a standard health screening or exercise ECG would detect disease.

CT Calcium Scoring can detect the presence of coronary artery disease even when the coronary arteries are less than 50% narrowed. This makes CT Heartscan a vital tool in the fight against Heart Disease, as half of all heart attacks occur with less that 50% narrowing of the Coronary Arteries.

Who needs a Calcium Scoring Heartscan? Are you at risk?

A heart scan for screening is to assess whether you are at risk of coronary heart disease. This questionnaire will help you assess your own risk status. If you are over 40 and male or if you are over 45 and female and can tick one of the following criteria, you could benefit from a Rivers Hospital CT Heartscan.

This questionnaire will help you assess your own risk status. If you are over 40 and male or if you are over 45 and female and can tick one of the following criteria, you could benefit from a  Rivers Hospital CT Heartscan.

  • Do you smoke or have you ever smoked
  • Do you have a family history of heart disease?
  • Do you suffer with high blood pressure?
  • Do you have raised cholesterol levels? 
  • Do you have a history of Diabetes?
  • Are you overweight?
  • Do you lead a sedentary lifestyle?

Please note, patients that have either Coronary Stents or Coronary Bypass Grafts are unable to have this scan.

How are my results calculated?

A consultant Radiologist examines the images on your scan for evidence of calcium in your heart. Based on the findings of your scan we will be able to 'score' from 0 to 400+ the amount of calcium found in your heart. Calcium findings are an indication of how much plaque burden or atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) you have.

What happens after my 'score' is calculated?

A normal result gives you peace of mind but if your result shows you are at a higher risk advice is given to help reduce this, placing you in firm control of your future.

If your result is at an extremely high risk you will be advised to see your GP.

Do I need a referral from my doctor to have a CT Heartscan?

If you meet our criteria you can self refer. If however, you feel you are at high risk and are under our recommended age levels (40 for men and 45 for women) you must seek a referral from your GP or Cardiologist

Do I have to prepare for my scan in any way?

No, the scan is a quick, painless, non-invasive diagnostic procedure. No fluids or pills have to be taken ensuring that there will be no side effects, and that you can get back to day to day activities immediately.

Rivers Hospital is equipped with the latest in CT technology. Unlike some scanners the patient is not enclosed in a tunnel, the ring is not deep and the scan only takes approximately 10-15 minutes, with constant support from a radiographer.

Are there any risks associated with having a scan?

The CT Heartscan uses X-rays so there is a small dose of radiation. Radiation is measured in Millisieverts or mSv. There is background radiation around us all the time, on average we take on approximately 3 mSv's in a year but can be as high as 6 mSv's in some places. The maximum dose is 50 mSv in any one year.

The CT Heartscan will give you a dose of 0.5 to 1.5 mSv depending on your size. The potential benefit for selected patients is likely to outweigh any radiation risk. Patients are only screened if they fulfil selection criteria, thus complying with Ionising Radiation (IRMER) Regulations.

How often should I have a scan?

It is recommended that you have a scan once every 5 years, further recommendations (if any) will be explained to you with your results.

Benefits - Why Should you book?

Many people spend hundreds of pounds on maintenance checks for their car or household equipment, but neglect to care for themselves. The CT Heartscan is a very worthwhile investment offering:

  • Peace of mind
  • Reassurance to family and friends
  • Options to help prevent a future heart attack

For more information or to book an appointment please call 01279 212 952.

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