Understanding Your Heart Scan Results

A heart scan evaluates the health of your blood vessels. It tells your doctor how much calcified plaque is in your coronary arteries and your risk of developing heart disease or a heart attack in the near future. It is a CT scan that takes 10 minutes to perform, requires no needles, dyes, or medications, but understanding your heart scan results might save your life.

Doctor holding heart image

Understanding Calcified Plaque

During a heart scan Southwest Diagnostic Imaging Center is looking for a buildup of calcium and plaque. This is not the same plaque found on teeth. This type of plaque is made of fat and calcium and over time it can harden. If the amount of plaque is not controlled, it will continue to grow and interfere with healthy blood flow.

The causes of calcified plaque include genetic plus lifestyle factors. They include the following:

  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight
  • Sedentary lifestyle

Understanding The Results

The results of the heart scan can identify restricted blood flow to the muscles of your heart, and will identify coronary artery disease before you have any symptoms.

The score ranges from 0 to 400. The higher the coronary calcium score, the higher chance of narrowing of the coronary arteries. This would, therefore, indicate a higher risk of a future heart attack.

The Silent Killer

The CDC estimates 790,000 have a heart attack every year. Coronary heart disease is known as the silent killer because many Americans have no warning they are at risk for a heart attack.

If you have no apparent symptoms and are 50, many physicians recommend you have a heart scan. It is the most accurate screening tool available to diagnose heart disease.

The information gleaned from the results can help Southwest Diagnostic Imaging Center make recommendations about lifestyle modifications and additional medications that can correct any medical issues and help to prevent a future heart attack or stroke.

Contact Southwest Diagnostic Imaging Center at (214) 345-6905 to find out if a heart scan might be right for you.