15 Minutes and $69 Could Save Your Life
A coronary calcium scan measures cardiac risk and helps assess the future likelihood of having a heart attack. It is non-invasive, only takes about 15 minutes to perform, and provides easily-readable results within a couple of days.
Many cardiologists believe this is the most accurate test for measuring cardiac risk. St. Mark's Hospital is offering the scan for only $69 paid at the time of your scan. Your insurance will not be billed.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. Heart disease stems from plaque build-up in your arteries; a combination of cholesterol, calcium and other substances. The coronary calcium scan measures the amount of calcification in your heart arteries, providing a percentage score that many cardiologists view as the most accurate predictor of a future cardiac event, especially a heart attack or stroke.
Anyone looking for peace of mind around heart disease can be scanned. However, the coronary calcium scan is most useful for those who have a family history of heart disease or who exhibit high risk factors such as obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension or smoking.
Usually the scan is done on those who are over 35 years old. The test is NOT helpful if you already have heart disease, like a prior heart attack or stent.
You’re calcium test results score will be from 0 to more than 400. The higher your score the great your chance of having a heart attack or other vascular event within the next 3 to 5 years. Here are some recommend actions to take based on your score:
- 0 – 10: Little to no plaque build-up and low risk.
- 11-100: Minimal plaque build-up. Consider discussing with your doctor or cardiologist.
- 101-400: Moderate plaque build-up. Discuss with your doctor or cardiologist.
- >400: Extensive plaque build-up. Make an appointment to discuss with your doctor or cardiologist.
If you don’t have a cardiologist, one of our experienced doctors can almost always see you within a week.
The coronary calcium scan takes no longer than 15 minutes and is done in a CT machine. The machine is a large, open tube shaped like a doughnut and is far less restricting than having an MRI. Your head is not required to go into the tube and no die is injected.
Most of the time the scan can be done wearing loose-fitting clothes rather than getting into a hospital gown.
Yes. The scan is a flat fee of $69 and your insurance will not be billed. That means no-matter what health insurance you have you are eligible for the coronary calcium scan at St. Mark's Hospital.
Your results will be mailed to you within 10 days. If you do not receive results within 10 days, please call (801) 266-3418.
Remember, a high score doesn’t necessarily mean you’re having a heart attack next week or that you should be rushed to the operating room. In many cases, life-style changes such as improving diet, weight management through exercise, quitting smoking and other measures is all it takes to help improve your score.
If your score is high, you should schedule an appointment with your cardiologist.
This percentage score gives a far more realistic view of what is going on in your heart than other tests. For example, treadmill tests often provide false positives, or worse, don’t flag a patient as being at risk because blockage less than 60–70 percent don’t register on a stress test.
In contrast, the coronary calcium score identifies early plaque build-up BEFORE it causes obstruction.