Each year, 150,000 American men and women with no symptoms of heart disease die from a heart attack. Shore Health System now offers coronary artery calcium scoring, a simple, inexpensive test that offers peace of mind and information you can use to take an active role in the management of your health.
“Coronary artery calcium scoring measures calcification, also known as hardening of the heart’s arteries, which is a leading indicator of heart disease,” says Frank Brennan, MD, a radiologist on the Shore Health System medical staff. Dr. Brennan interprets the calcium scoring tests. “Early detection is the key to making lifestyle changes and taking advantage of medical treatments that can save your life.”
Men over 45 and women older than 55 as well as menopausal women are prime candidates for calcium scoring. If you have one of these risk factors, you may benefit from the procedure:
• Abnormally high blood cholesterol level
• High homocysteine blood levels
• Family history of heart disease
• High blood pressure
• Sedentary lifestyle
• Over weight
This procedure, which is performed at The Memorial Hospital at Easton, takes about 10 minutes. A physician referral is not necessary and no special preparation is required. To begin the procedure, a few electrodes are placed on the chest. The scanner captures images of the beating heart and surrounding vessels while the patient takes deep breaths.
The advanced cardiac imaging technology used to perform coronary artery calcium scoring was initially offered at only six hospitals in the US. “This test, which is done with one of our advanced CT scanners, can detect the smallest amount of calcification in your coronary arteries,” explains Gary Bigelow, director of imaging services for Shore Health System. “No needles. No incisions. Just a complete and accurate scan of your heart that won’t even put a wrinkle in your shirt.”
A calcium scoring costs $75. Some insurance plans cover the cost of this test. Bigelow adds, “You receive a copy of the doctor’s report and a copy can be sent to your primary care physician. Follow up medical consultations may be recommended if the test shows signs of heart disease.”
For more information about cardiac calcium scoring, call 410-822-1000 or 410-228-5511, ext. 5768. To schedule an appointment, call 410-822-100 or 410-228-5511, ext. 2600. Visit www.shorehealth.org/services/radiology to learn more about calcium scoring and the imaging services available through Shore Health System.