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Importance of a Coronary Artery Calcium Scan
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Coronary Artery Calcium Scan
The coronary arteries are the blood vessels that supply oxygen to the heart. If these arteries become narrowed or blocked as a result of cholesterol "plaque" buildup within the artery walls, called coronary artery disease, this can result in a heart attack or death. Coronary artery disease is the number one cause of death in the United States for both men and women, and is often a silent killer. In fact, 50% of men and 65% of women who die suddenly of coronary artery disease have no previous symptoms of disease.
Detection of coronary artery disease at an early stage is critically important to stopping, and in some cases, reversing the condition, but traditional risk factors for coronary artery disease underestimate the true risk for disease and heart attack. Fortunately, The Division of Cardiology at St. Luke's and Roosevelt Hospitals offers coronary artery calcium scans to detect the presence and extent of coronary artery disease.
A coronary artery calcium scan is a noninvasive examination which accurately measures the presence and extent of coronary calcium deposits in the arteries supplying your heart (the “coronary vessels”). The presence of calcium in these vessels is an early and very reliable indicator of atherosclerotic deposits (“plaque”). Calcium deposits generally occur years before the development of symptoms, allowing you and your physician to make lifestyle and/or medication changes that may ward off the development of heart disease. Early detection of coronary artery disease is very important because many people do not have any symptoms at all before suffering from a fatal heart attack.
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