What is a CT Scan?

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

0 = No evidence of CAD

1-10 = Minimal evidence of CAD

11-100 = Mild evidence of CAD

101-400 = Moderate evidence of CAD

Over 400 = Extensive evidence of CAD