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What is a cardiac calcium scoring test?

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Quick Answer

The cardiac calcium scoring test uses a computed tomography scan to check for calcium deposits in the walls of the arteries of the heart. This noninvasive test is useful for detecting heart disease and determining its severity, according to WebMD and Mayo Clinic.

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What is a cardiac calcium scoring test?
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Full Answer

A cardiac calcium scoring test involves taking computed tomography images of thin sections of the heart to look for plaques containing calcium, states WebMD. Calcium deposits that cause narrowed coronary arteries can lead to coronary artery disease and increase the risk of heart attack and death.

The cardiac calcium test score is based upon the amount of calcium found in arterial plaques. The score is used to determine a patient’s risk of heart attack or coronary artery disease. The cardiac calcium scoring test can help a doctor to make decision on how to lower his patient’s risk of heart disease, stroke and heart attack. The test is also sometimes useful for indicating that a patient has heart problems before obvious symptoms of heart disease appear, explains Mayo Clinic.

A patient who has symptoms of heart disease, smokes or has cardiac risk factors such as high blood pressure or cholesterol may be recommended to take the test. The test is generally not used as part of routine screening for coronary heart disease and may be most useful for people who have an intermediate risk, states Mayo Clinic.

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