About CT Scans
Computed tomography (CT) is a diagnostic medical test that, like traditional x-rays produces multiple images or pictures of the inside of the body.
The cross-sectional images generated during a CT scan can be reformatted in multiple planes, and can even generate three-dimensional images. These images can be viewed on a computer monitor, printed on film or transferred to a CD or DVD.
CT images of internal organs, bones, soft tissue, and blood vessels typically provide greater detail than traditional x-rays, particularly of soft tissues and blood vessels.
CT Calcium Scoring
CT calcium scoring uses x-ray equipment to produce pictures of the coronary arteries to determine if they are blocked or narrowed by the buildup of plaque. Your arteries supply oxygen-containing blood to the heart muscle. Plaque in the arteries calcifies resulting in a build-up of fat under the inner layer of the artery, which can lead to an increased risk of a heart attack.
CT scans produces cross-sectional images to see many multiple directions inside the body. The amount of calcium detected in the CT is given a calcium score measurement. If your scoring is negative, no calcification within the coronary arteries is present. A positive test means coronary artery disease (CAD) is present. The extent of CAD is graded according to your calcium score:
Calcium Score = Presence of CAD
No evidence of CAD
Minimal evidence of CAD
11 - 100
Mild evidence of CAD
Moderate evidence of CAD
Extensive evidence of CAD
CT Lung Screening
The National Cancer Institute's research shows that low-dose CT lung screening can reduce lung cancer caused deaths by 20% compared to x-ray imaging. Screenings are performed before symptoms occur so that they detect disease in its earliest stages. Low dose CT produces quality images with 90% less ionizing radiation than a conventional chest CT scan.
Who sould be screened?
Low dose CT lung screenings are considered a preventative service and are covered by insurance once a year is the following conditions are met:
- They're 55-77.
- They do not have signs or symptoms of lung cancer.
- They are a current smoker or quit smoking in the last 15 years.
- They have a tobacco smoking history of at least 30 "pack-years," which means an average of one pack a day for 30 years.
- They have a written order from their physician.