FRAMINGHAM – MetroWest Medical Center is now offering calcium scoring at its Framingham Union Hospital in Framingham.
A cardiac CT scan is a diagnostic medical test that can determine if plaque has calcified within one’s coronary arteries.
“The cardiac CT scan is a non-invasive way of obtaining important information about your heart,” said Dr. Andrew Harding, CEO at MetroWest Medical Center. “I recently had the scan done to learn more about my own health. Anyone who thinks they, or a loved one, could benefit from an inside look at their heart should asking their cardiologist about this scan.”
Since calcium is a marker for coronary artery disease, the amount of calcium detected on a cardiac CT scan is a helpful prognostic tool. The findings from the CT scan are expressed as your “calcium score.”
“Coronary artery calcium scoring allows us to detect clinically silent plaque buildup in the coronary arteries years or even decades before it would be detected by conventional testing such as a stress test,” said Dr. George Kinzfogl, Chief of Cardiology at MetroWest Medical Center.
“After the calcium score has been calculated, we use the MESA (NHLBI Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis) database to better define an individual’s overall cardiovascular risk,” said Dr. Kinzfogl. “This information allows us to make more refined recommendations about the potential benefits from interventions such as aspirin, cholesterol-lowering medications, and any additional testing recommendations in addition to continuing to emphasize the importance of diet and exercise for cardiovascular wellness.”
Calcium scoring using the MESA database has been offered at MetroWest Medical Center since 2013.
Patients most likely benefit from coronary artery calcium scoring are asymptomatic, middle-aged patients with cardiac risk factors, for example, a strong family history for premature coronary artery disease.
If coronary atherosclerosis is identified, these patients may benefit from more intensive risk factor modifications years of before potentially coming to medial recognition with their first cardiovascular events.
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