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Home > Medical Services > CardioVascular Center > Scope of Services > Diagnostic Testing

Cardiac Computed Tomography and Calcium Scoring

Also known as Cardiac CT, this quick, painless test uses an x-ray machine to determine whether a patient has heart disease. During this test, an x-ray machine moves around the body to take a picture of the heart which is shown as a three-dimensional image. Sometimes contrast dye is injected into a vein to enhance the images on x-ray.

Cardiac CT is used to diagnose or evaluate the following:

  • The accumulation of calcium in the coronary arteries. This is called a coronary calcium score. Calcium or a fatty substance called plaque in the coronary arteries occurs in coronary artery disease. This can lead to narrowing of the arteries and possibly a heart attack.
  • Problems with heart function and heart valves.
  • An abnormality of the aorta, the main artery of the body, such as an aneurysm or dissection. An aneurysm is a weakened area of the vessel wall which bulges out and may be dangerous if rupture occurs. A dissection of the vessel is another life threatening condition when the layers of the artery wall can peel away from each other.
  • Pulmonary embolism (PE) or blood clots in the lungs. This condition though serious can be treated. It usually occurs when a blood clot travels from one of the legs to the lungs.
  • Pericardial disease. An abnormality of the pericardium or the sac surrounding the heart.

CT Angiogram Appointments: Patients will need to get a Cardiac Computed Tomography Angiogram (CTA) Order Form from their physician. CT Angiogram order forms can be faxed to 610-738-2696. The Radiology Nurse will follow-up with you to schedule an appointment.

Coronary Calcium Score

This non-invasive 10 minute test detects small specks of calcium in the coronary arteries. These calcifications are an early sign of coronary heart disease and can detect if a patient is at an increased risk for a heart attack before any signs or symptoms may appear.

Calcium Score Appointments: The Calcium Score test is currently not covered by most insurance companies and is therefore a self pay test. The cost is $129. The test can be ordered by any physician using the CTA Order Form or the Non-Invasive Cardiovascular Department Order Sheet. For an appointment, please call 610-431-5131.

Last Updated: 9/2/2011