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  • Anyone try a Heart CT Scan to check for arterial calcium buildup?

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    Old 09-29-2004, 02:58 PM   #1
    Machaon
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    Anyone try a Heart CT Scan to check for arterial calcium buildup?

    I'm having a heart ct scan. Just wondering if anyone else had one, and was it worth it? Does anyone feel that it is an effective tool for diagnosing arterial buildup?

    Last edited by Machaon; 09-29-2004 at 03:00 PM.

     
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    Old 09-29-2004, 03:35 PM   #2
    mattiza
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    Re: Anyone try a Heart CT Scan to check for arterial calcium buildup?

    I had one done about 3 months ago, with a zero calcium score.
    Two weeks ago I had a cardiolite stress test done by my cardiologist after me still complaning about shortness of breath and he saw an abnormality.
    Unfortunately I have to get an angiogram done next week. So for me the EBT scan didnt really give me much of a good diagnosis.

    Van

     
    Old 09-29-2004, 04:38 PM   #3
    jerry78
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    Re: Anyone try a Heart CT Scan to check for arterial calcium buildup?

    I had one done way back in 1996, when they were just coming out. I was 36 yrs old at the time. I had a calcium score of 2. This is where the confusion lies: Some experts tell me that my score was not so good, because at age 36, most males have zero calcium; however, other experts, including the famed Dr. Ken Cooper, of the Cooper aerobic Clinic in Dallas, who is a pioneer in the field, told me, after I sent him my results, that my score was excellent, as my calcium was almost non-existent, even when age-adjusted.
    So, to answer your question, my test results caused me more confusion than anything; although most people I talk to, physicians and lay people alike, tell me to go with what Dr. Cooper said, as he is the pionerring expert on EBCT and heart disease prevention. Good Luck and tell us your score when your done with the test.

     
    Old 09-29-2004, 05:55 PM   #4
    Machaon
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    Re: Anyone try a Heart CT Scan to check for arterial calcium buildup?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mattiza
    I had one done about 3 months ago, with a zero calcium score.
    I've been reading about heart scans. The scans don't pick up soft plaque buildups in the arteries. So a score of zero doesn't necessarily show no blockage. At least, in your case, the scan has ruled out the buildup of calcium based plaque.

    Quote:
    Two weeks ago I had a cardiolite stress test done by my cardiologist after me still complaning about shortness of breath and he saw an abnormality.
    Sorry to hear about your problems with shortness. I hate that symptom more than any other. Between my asthma and my heart disease, I frequently get shortness of breath. A lot of the time, I don't know if it is my heart or my asthma.

    Did you know anything more about the abnormality? Was it an abnormality in the timing or beating of your heart? When my heart's misfiring gets worse, it causes shortness of breath.

    Quote:
    Unfortunately I have to get an angiogram done next week. So for me the EBT scan didnt really give me much of a good diagnosis.

    Van
    Does your heart race and beat so hard that you can see your chest move, or does it just jump around, or does it beat slow and weakly, or any combination of the above, or does it usually beat normally?

    Good luck with your angiogram and thanks for the reply.

     
    Old 09-29-2004, 06:08 PM   #5
    Machaon
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    Re: Anyone try a Heart CT Scan to check for arterial calcium buildup?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jerry78
    I had one done way back in 1996, when they were just coming out. I was 36 yrs old at the time. I had a calcium score of 2. This is where the confusion lies: Some experts tell me that my score was not so good, because at age 36, most males have zero calcium; however, other experts, including the famed Dr. Ken Cooper, of the Cooper aerobic Clinic in Dallas, who is a pioneer in the field, told me, after I sent him my results, that my score was excellent, as my calcium was almost non-existent, even when age-adjusted.
    Thanks for the reply. I've been reading about heart artery scans. I've got major heart disease, and if I get a score under 50, I'll be more than happy. A score of 2 will make me feel 20 years younger! (For about 2 seconds).

    From what I have read, there are definite trouble signs when the score is, like, 400 +/- 100 or so. I can't understand why any "expert" would tell you that a score of 2 was bad, unless they wanted you to go through some additional expensive tests.

    Quote:
    So, to answer your question, my test results caused me more confusion than anything; although most people I talk to, physicians and lay people alike, tell me to go with what Dr. Cooper said, as he is the pionerring expert on EBCT and heart disease prevention. Good Luck and tell us your score when your done with the test.
    At first, based on the two responses here, I almost talked myself out of having the heart scan. But, I have very high cholesterol, high blood pressure and major heart disease. I have never been diagnosed with CAD. Being at increased risk for CAD, I am expecting a rather high score. I am hoping for a reasonably low score, even though a low score only predicts a lack of calcium based plaque buildup, and it is not a predictor of soft plaque buildup.

    I certainly will post my score. Thanks for asking about it. I asked them if I could get a bunch of pictures on a CD. They said that they could give me a video of my heart that I could watch on my puter.

    A glass of wine....... some music...... and my heart pumping on my puter screen. I wonder if my wife will find that romantic?

     
    Old 09-30-2004, 06:20 AM   #6
    zip2play
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    Re: Anyone try a Heart CT Scan to check for arterial calcium buildup?

    beerzoid,

    I think the test just isn't definitive enough. If one gets a good result but one STILL has ischemia symptoms, it's STILL off to nuclear stress test and angiography...there's that very real problem you brought up of soft plaques which can block just as well and perhaps burst even more readily.
    Insurance companies won't pay because there are too many false positives resulting in too many additional unnecessary angiograms, often unnecessary.

    So you've got a pricey test (out of pocket) that has a high level of false negatives (calciumless plaque) as well as a high level of false positives.

    I considered the test for myself, but when I realized that with my symptoms I'd probably push for angiography no matter the result of the MRI I decided to save myself some time and money and go right to the angiography. The way my plaque compressed (like 98%+ blockage down to "nothing") it must have been quite soft.

    Last edited by zip2play; 09-30-2004 at 06:26 AM.

     
    Old 09-30-2004, 07:36 AM   #7
    mattiza
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    Re: Anyone try a Heart CT Scan to check for arterial calcium buildup?

    [

    Does your heart race and beat so hard that you can see your chest move, or does it just jump around, or does it beat slow and weakly, or any combination of the above, or does it usually beat normally?

    Good luck with your angiogram and thanks for the reply.


    My heart beat is normal. I do have panic attacks at times where my heart will go like crazy for about a minute then calm down. Other than that its normal. I think my cardiologist told me the abnormality was found after the stress part of the test and scan with the cardiolite. He told me I passed the stress test but failed the scan. I am really looking forward to the angiogram so I can finnaly find out for sure what has been going on.

    Van

     
    Old 10-03-2004, 06:07 PM   #8
    Machaon
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    Re: Anyone try a Heart CT Scan to check for arterial calcium buildup?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zip2play
    beerzoid,

    I think the test just isn't definitive enough. If one gets a good result but one STILL has ischemia symptoms, it's STILL off to nuclear stress test and angiography...there's that very real problem you brought up of soft plaques which can block just as well and perhaps burst even more readily.
    Insurance companies won't pay because there are too many false positives resulting in too many additional unnecessary angiograms, often unnecessary.
    I've got major problems with my heart. However, I've never been diagnosed with CAD. The last heart catherization, that I had, was about 15 years ago, and there was no sign of a buildup.

    So....... if I get a low score for calcium based plaque buildup, it will be important to me. At least it will rule that out.

    Quote:
    So you've got a pricey test (out of pocket) that has a high level of false negatives (calciumless plaque) as well as a high level of false positives.
    The cost is $175. A high score will be very disappointing to me. I am hoping for a reasonably low score. A relatively low score will, at least, give me some peace of mind.

    Quote:
    I considered the test for myself, but when I realized that with my symptoms I'd probably push for angiography no matter the result of the MRI I decided to save myself some time and money and go right to the angiography. The way my plaque compressed (like 98%+ blockage down to "nothing") it must have been quite soft.
    My options are limited, so I am taking the heart scan. I think that it WOULD BE definitive of calcium based plaque if I come back with a high score. Plaque or not, I need to have a regular exercise program, but, at present, my heart will not allow it.

    Good to hear that they were able to significantly compress your plaque! You must've been very happy with that news. Thanks for the feedback.

     
    Old 10-03-2004, 06:12 PM   #9
    Machaon
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    Re: Anyone try a Heart CT Scan to check for arterial calcium buildup?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mattiza
    My heart beat is normal. I do have panic attacks at times where my heart will go like crazy for about a minute then calm down. Other than that its normal. I think my cardiologist told me the abnormality was found after the stress part of the test and scan with the cardiolite. He told me I passed the stress test but failed the scan. I am really looking forward to the angiogram so I can finnaly find out for sure what has been going on.
    Van
    Did he say if the abnormality was significant?

    At least, until the angiogram, and for your peace of mind, your heart seems to be beating fairly well.

    When is your angiogram?

     
    Old 10-04-2004, 07:12 AM   #10
    mattiza
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    Re: Anyone try a Heart CT Scan to check for arterial calcium buildup?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by beerzoids
    Did he say if the abnormality was significant?

    At least, until the angiogram, and for your peace of mind, your heart seems to be beating fairly well.

    When is your angiogram?
    I dont recall him saying about it being significant. He said there was an area that showed less blood flow than the other.
    My angiogram is scheduled for this Friday at 1:30pm. I am a little nervous, but at the same time I want to find out what is going on with my health.

    Van

     
    Old 10-11-2004, 04:15 PM   #11
    Machaon
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    Re: Anyone try a Heart CT Scan to check for arterial calcium buildup?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mattiza
    I dont recall him saying about it being significant. He said there was an area that showed less blood flow than the other.
    My angiogram is scheduled for this Friday at 1:30pm. I am a little nervous, but at the same time I want to find out what is going on with my health.
    Van
    Did you receive any results from your angiogram?

    I got the results from my heart scan. The total calcium score was 32. The chart said that a total score from 11 to 100 showed "definite, at least mild artherosclerotic plaque" and "mild or minimal coronary narrowings likely".

    Since I was at the lower third of the scale, I was quite pleased with the results. It doesn't rule out soft plaque blockage, but I think that the results were very helpful. It gives me some peace of mind.

    I was very happy not to see scores up around 400.

     
    Old 10-11-2004, 07:17 PM   #12
    mattiza
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    Re: Anyone try a Heart CT Scan to check for arterial calcium buildup?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by beerzoids
    Did you receive any results from your angiogram?

    I got the results from my heart scan. The total calcium score was 32. The chart said that a total score from 11 to 100 showed "definite, at least mild artherosclerotic plaque" and "mild or minimal coronary narrowings likely".

    Since I was at the lower third of the scale, I was quite pleased with the results. It doesn't rule out soft plaque blockage, but I think that the results were very helpful. It gives me some peace of mind.

    I was very happy not to see scores up around 400.

    Yes, I went in last Fraday. And I am happy to day all of my arteries were 100% clean, valves are normal, and pressure were normal.
    So hey, maybe the CT scan does work.

     
    Old 10-12-2004, 04:17 AM   #13
    jerry78
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    Re: Anyone try a Heart CT Scan to check for arterial calcium buildup?

    Beer:
    32 sounds like a real good score, depending on your age.
    How old are You?

     
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