A coronary artery calcium score is a special CT scan that uses a very low radiation dose (similar to a mammogram, and ten times less than a standard CT scan) to detect calcium deposits in the coronary arteries. The presence of calcium indicates underlying heart disease called atherosclerosis — a build up of fat, cholesterol, and other substances in the coronary arteries. Atherosclerosis can lead to heart attacks and damaged heart muscle.
Who might need a calcium score? Men over the age of 45 years and women over 55 years who have at least one of the following risks:
Younger individuals may be eligible if they have a strong family history of heart disease at a young age. Patients who have a prior history of heart attack, stents, or bypass surgery are not eligible.
Learn what happens (and what you need to do) before, during, and after this procedure:
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