Coronary Calcium Scoring
This is the cause of a heart attack - sudden rupture of a coronary plaque that has been present and silently growing for many years. Knowing that one has coronary plaques leads to medical therapy that stops the heart attack from happening.
This is the test that detects coronary plaques many years earlier - a coronary calcium scoring test. It is totally non-invasive, takes less than 15 minutes to perform, and requires no special preparations. It is endorsed and highly recommended by both the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology since 2013. It is likened to "mammography for the heart". In Texas, a law was passed in 2009 that mandates insurance coverage for this test for all eligible Texans called Texas Heart Attack Prevention Bill. As part of our Save Your Heart Campaign, we want to convince MEDICARE that coverage for the test is long overdue.
The Day of Your Test - What To Expect:
1. There is no special prep - no fasting, take your medications as usual, etc.
2. No IV needed. There is no injection of any contrast agent or isotope.
3. There is no exercise involved.
4. You will lay down in the CT scan table.
5. You will be asked to hold your breath for 20 seconds and be still.
6. Rapid CT images are quickly acquired.
7. The entire test only takes a few minutes.
8. You are done. Images are processed and report is sent to your physicians.
Coronary artery calcium is the single most reliable predictor for long-term, cause-specific mortality across patient subgroups based on age, ethnicity, sex, and risk factor burden, proving its crucial role in cardiovascular risk stratification.
Overall, CAC is the most reliable tool to stratify cardiovascular risk across patient subgroups. If enabled on a more widespread basis, CAC can contribute its share to the kind of precision medicine that we intend to deliver to our patients of today and tomorrow.
Only plaques with at least mild calcification are represented in the calcium score. Calcium Score is far superior than any version of Framingham Risk Score in estimating risk. The Framingham Risk Score can't tell you if you have plaques or not, or how much.
When a 40 or 50 year old patient comes in for heart attack prevention, the initial evaluation involves clinical cardiology expertise.
After the initial evaluation, preventive cardiology expertise determines how most accurately determine the risk for cardiovascular events within the next 5 to 10 years.
Advanced Lipid Clinic
Once the severity of risk is known, medical therapy is optimized to the level of risk. Advanced lipid therapy is the foundation of prevention in high risk patients.