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What is a Heart Scan?

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heart and stethoscope

What is a Heart Scan? 

A heart scan is also known as cardiac CT or Calcium Scoring and is used to detect coronary artery disease (CAD). 

Why is a Heart Scan beneficial to patients?

A heart scan is used to detect tiny amounts of calcium in the arteries of the heart. The amount of calcium deposited in the arteries may be a factor in your risk of developing heart disease. 

What happens during a Heart Scan?

This procedure is quick, painless and non-invasive. There is also no patient preparation required. Once the patient arrives, they are given a short history form to fill out, as there are many factors that contribute to coronary artery disease: age, family history of heart disease, high blood cholesterol, smoking, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. 

The patient is then placed on the CT table and EKG leads are placed on the chest, which measures the heartbeat. The scanner will then sync to the monitor and scan the heart when it’s at its lowest point of the beat, which also reduces motion on the images. The entire procedure takes about 30 minutes. 

How are results interpreted?

The images from a heart scan are interpreted by a Radiologist. The amount of calcium in the artery is given a number, called a score. A report is sent to the patient and ordering physician, if applicable. The amount of calcification may help predict the likelihood of developing coronary artery disease. 

Is this test covered by my insurance?

This test is generally not covered by insurance, but it is offered at a low-cost fee, usually around $110. The patient will pay that fee at the time of registration.

Do I need a physician’s referral?

The test does not need to be ordered by a physician, as it can be self-referred. 

How can I schedule a heart scan?

To schedule a heart scan within the Radiology department at UnityPoint Health – Finley Hospital, please call (563) 557-2787.