HeartScore (Cardiac Calcium Score)
What is your HeartScore?
HeartScore cardiac calcium scoring is a quick, painless, noninvasive procedure performed with a multislice computed tomography (CT) scanner. During a 30-second test, Wilmington Health Cardiologist Dr. Matt Janik can accurately determine the degree and severity of hard plaque within the coronary arteries.
Patient Information & Instructions
Why is HeartScore cardiac calcium scoring important?
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Often people have no warning signs prior to a cardiac event. HeartScore detects this life-threatening build up and gives people the opportunity to change their lifestyles and obtain medication before extensive, irreversible damage occurs.
What Are the Criteria for Who Should Have a HeartScore?
- Men age >45, women age >50
- No prior stents or coronary artery bypass surgery
- Not pregnant
- No calcium score in last three years
What Is Included in a HeartScore?
The HeartScore includes several key components that assess cardiovascular health and your individualized risk of heart attack. A blood pressure check, a fasting cholesterol panel, a fasting glucose to screen for diabetes, and a CT-scan to quantify coronary calcium are all included. Additionally, this information is combined in a report that clearly interprets your cardiovascular risk (see above).
How Is the HeartScore CT Scan Performed?
The HeartScore CT scan is a simple non-contrast computed tomography (CT) scan of the heart. The scan takes place during a single breath hold, approximately 15 seconds, while a sliding table moves you slowly through the circular CT scanner. The picture is timed to your EKG to improve resolution. A computer translates X-rays transmitted through the chest into a picture of the heart.
Calcium is dense and therefore lights up bright white on CT scans. Calcium is a major component of plaque buildup within the coronary (heart) arteries—representing the process of coronary artery disease (CAD) or atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is what causes heart attacks. By quantifying the amount of calcium in the heart arteries, your HeartScore can tell a lot about your personal risk of heart attack going forward.
What Do the Results Mean?
Your HeartScore includes several calculated results. Absolute calcium score represents the total amount of calcium in the heart arteries and ranges from 0-2000. Absolute scores of 400 correlate well with blood flow-limiting blockages. Calcium score percentile compares your absolute score to individuals of the same age/sex/race. Arterial age can be taken as, "You have the arteries of a ___ year-old." Finally, your risk of heart attack over the next 10 years is reported based on clinical parameters, blood pressure, and labs (Framingham Risk Score), and then adjusted to account for your HeartScore (Adjusted Framingham Risk Score). Different risk criteria are reported in diabetics (using UKPDS risk engine).
How Do I Arrange a HeartScore?
We require a referral from your primary care provider for all men age less than 45 and women less than age 50.
If you are male and older than 45, female older than 50, it is as simple as calling 910.815.8516 today. Our office staff will provide you a time/day for your scan and instructions. An all-inclusive, one-time payment of $140 is required at the time of the exam, regardless of insurance status. The cost of the test includes a copy of Dr. Janik’s new book, Get More from Your Score, which can help you learn to live a longer, healthier life with the knowledge obtained after a HeartScore cardiac calcium score test.
Do I Need a Referral from My Healthcare Provider?
Yes. We require a referral from your primary care provider for all men age less than 45 and women less than age 50. If your doctor is outside Wilmington health and needs a referral form, let us know and we will fax them one.
Who Do I Contact with Questions About the Test?
Logistical questions can be answered by our patient representatives at 910.815.8516. Questions about whether a HeartScore is right for you personally and/or medical questions about your HeartScore should be addressed by your current healthcare provider. Or, if preferred, an appointment can be made with one of our cardiologists by calling 910.341.3301.
What if I Want to Discuss My Results?
If you would like to review your results with Dr. Matt Janik (the director of our HeartScore program) or another of our cardiology providers, call 910.341.3301 to arrange an appointment. As with any test, you may also schedule an appointment to discuss results with your established healthcare provider.