Health Matters

Calcium scoring test can help detect heart disease

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(GAINESVILLE, Ga.) – The Heart Center at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville now offers another tool for fighting heart disease.Cardiac calcium scoring is a quick, painless and non-invasive procedure that detects and measures the amount of calcium-containing plaque build-up in a person’s arteries. That measurement helps calculate the person’s risk of developing heart disease and may help physicians identify it before symptoms appear.

“When plaque grows in the arteries and begins to block blood flow to the heart, it can cause a heart attack,” says Ioannis Parastatidis, MD, PhD, cardiologist at The Heart Center of Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC). “Cardiac calcium scoring uses a CT scanner, or special X-ray, to give physicians a clear picture of how much plaque is in a patient’s arteries by providing detailed images of the heart and its vessels. The higher the score, the higher the patient’s risk of heart attack.”

Dr. Parastatidis recommends that men over the age of 45 and women over the age of 50, especially those at risk of a heart attack, should receive a cardiac calcium scoring test. People who smoke, are obese, have high blood pressure, have high cholesterol or a family history of heart disease are considered at risk of a heart attack.

Knowing a person’s cardiac calcium score can give both patient and physician the chance to take preventative or life-saving action before serious damage occurs.

Patients who want to receive a cardiac calcium scoring test can schedule an appointment by calling 770-219-7666 or by having their physician schedule the appointment for them through the Northeast Georgia Medical Center physician scheduling system.

Cardiac calcium scoring requires a physician referral and costs $135. Results will be sent to patients’ physicians within 48 hours.

Northeast Georgia Medical Center has been ranked Georgia’s #1 Heart Hospital 12 years in a row (Healthgrades®, CareChex®)

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