Can a Calcium Scoring Test Predict a Heart Attack?

Heart attacks are a major concern for many individuals, and advancements in medical technology have given rise to various tests aimed at predicting and preventing these life-threatening events. One such test gaining attention is the Calcium Scoring Test. In this article, we'll explore whether this test can truly predict the likelihood of a heart attack. 

Understanding the Calcium Scoring Test:

The Calcium Scoring Test is a non-invasive, 5-minute CT scan that measures the amount of calcium deposits in the coronary arteries. These deposits, known as calcifications, are often associated with the buildup of plaque, a waxy substance that can narrow and block the arteries, leading to issues with your heart.

Calcium and Heart Health:

Calcium itself is a vital mineral for bone health, but when it accumulates in the arteries, it can be an indicator of underlying heart problems. The Calcium Scoring Test assigns a score based on the amount of calcification detected during a CT scan of the heart. A higher score suggests a higher risk of coronary artery disease, which may contribute to the likelihood of a heart attack.

The Relationship Between Calcium Score and Heart Attack Risk:

While a high calcium score is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, it is essential to understand that this test does not provide a definitive prediction of a heart attack. Fayez Shamoon, MD, Chairman of Cardiology at St. Joseph’s Health, emphasizes, "The Calcium Scoring Test is a valuable tool, but it should be considered alongside other risk factors and assessments for a comprehensive understanding of an individual's heart health."

Scientific Evidence:

Numerous studies have explored the link between calcium scores and the risk of cardiovascular events. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that individuals with a high calcium score were more likely to experience heart-related events. However, it's crucial to note that the presence of calcifications does not guarantee a heart attack.

The Multifaceted Nature of Heart Health:

Heart health is influenced by a variety of factors, including lifestyle, genetics, diet, and overall medical history. Specific factors that can increase your risk of a heart attack include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and a family history of heart disease.

The Calcium Scoring Test serves as a useful tool in assessing the risk of heart disease by identifying calcifications in the coronary arteries. However, it cannot predict a heart attack with absolute certainty. Dr. Shamoon reminds us "Heart health is complex, and a comprehensive approach, considering multiple factors, is essential." As we navigate our journey to a healthier heart, it's crucial to collaborate with healthcare professionals who can guide us based on a holistic understanding of our individual health profiles.

Want to know more? To get more information, or to schedule your appointment for a Calcium Scoring test performed by expert cardiac radiologist and technologists, call one of our locations below:

CLIFTON: 973-569-6300

St. Joseph’s Ambulatory Imaging Center 1135 Broad Street, Clifton, NJ 07013

TOTOWA: 862-657-3000

St. Joseph’s Radiology at Totowa Health Campus 225 Minnisink Road, Totowa, NJ 07512

WAYNE: 973-595-1300

University Imaging at St. Joseph’s Wayne Medical Center 246 Hamburg Turnpike, Wayne, NJ 07470

Your insurance may not cover the cost of the test so self-pay rates are available: $100 and a separate $38 reading fee.

Last modified onTuesday, 20 February 2024 10:54


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