CAT Scan Procedure

What Is Cardiac Scoring?

If your doctor needs to determine the amount of calcium or plaque in your coronary arteries, they may recommend getting cardiac scoring. This procedure takes less than 10 minutes of your time and is completely non-invasive and pain-free. Computed tomography, more commonly referred to as CAT scan technology, is used to take 70 to 90 images of your coronary arteries to establish your cardiac score.

About the Procedure

You will first be given a brief questionnaire. After which, the technologist will position you on the imaging table. To maintain the correct position and help you remain still, straps and pillows may be used. Small, sticky discs will be attached to your chest so an EKG machine can record the electrical activity of your heart.

The table will move through the scanner quickly at first to determine the correct position for the scans. After that, it will move more slowly through the machine when the actual CAT scan is performed. You may expect several passes like this. While the images are being captured, you will be asked to hold your breath for several seconds.

Once complete, the technologist will verify that the images are clear enough for an accurate interpretation. In general, the whole procedure takes about 10 minutes. The images captured will help your physician recommend the best course of action.

Common Uses of the Procedure

The goal of a cardiac scoring CAT scan is to determine if Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is present and to what extent, even if you don’t have any symptoms. Your doctor may recommend this screening study if you have risk factors for CAD such as high cholesterol, family history of heart attacks, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, lack of physical activity or if you’re overweight.

Cardiac scoring will help your physician determine if you have heart disease, and if you don’t, what you can do to lower your risk.

How Should I Prepare for the Procedure?

You don’t have to make any special preparations before your cardiac scoring procedure. However, you will want to avoid smoking or caffeine for about four hours before the exam.

Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes. You may be given a hospital gown to wear during the procedure. You will want to remove all jewelry, eyeglasses, hairpins and any other metal objects since they could affect the CAT scan images.

If you believe you may be pregnant, be sure to let the CAT scan technologist know, even if it’s just a possibility.

Cardiac scoring is a way for us to obtain information about calcium or plaque build up — if it’s present in the coronary arteries, how much and where it’s located. These are the vessels that supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart. When there is a build-up of fat or other substances under the inner layer of the artery, the result is plaque. If this material calcifies, it signals the presence of coronary artery disease (CAD) which puts people at an increased risk for heart attacks. Plaque buildup over time also narrows the arteries and can even close off blood flow to the heart, resulting in a heart attack.

 

Cardiac scoring is an essential prognostic tool that helps doctors determine how much calcium is detected.

 

Find a Location Near You

With locations in Texas, Colorado, Louisiana, and Oklahoma, Envision Radiology is proud to bring premier imaging services to the communities we serve. To determine if cardiac scoring is offered at the imaging center nearest you, click on one of the regions below to contact us: