A potential early indicator of heart disease
Coronary calcification occurs when calcium builds up in the plaque found in the walls of the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart muscle. The presence of coronary calcification can be an early sign of coronary artery disease, which can cause a heart attack.
Risk factors for coronary calcification include:
- Advanced age
- Chronic kidney disease
- Family history of coronary calcification
- High blood pressure
The amount of calcium that has built up in the arteries, which is known as your calcium score, may be determined using a specialized computerized tomography (CT) scan. Your doctor can use your calcium score to evaluate your risk for plaque buildup, known as atherosclerosis.
Cardiac catheterization is a minimally invasive way to diagnose and treat a variety of heart and vascular conditions by guiding thin, flexible tubes called catheters through blood vessels to problem areas.
Chest X-rays use a small dose of radiation to create pictures of the structures inside the chest, including the lungs, heart, and chest wall.
Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan
The cardiac computed tomography scan, or cardiac CT, uses X-rays to create three-dimensional images of your heart and blood vessels.
An echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of your heart.
An electrocardiogram, also known as an ECG, measures the heart’s electrical activity.
Fractional Flow Reserve
Fractional flow reserve, also known as FFR, is a measurement of how well blood can flow through the coronary arteries. Narrowing or blockages in these arteries can lead to a heart attack without treatment.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Magnetic resonance imaging, better known as cardiac MRI, is a combination of radio waves, magnets, and computer technology to create images of your heart and blood vessels.
Stress tests are used to assess how your heart works during physical activity. There are several types of stress tests, including treadmill or bike stress tests, nuclear stress tests, stress echocardiograms, and chemically induced stress tests.
Coronary calcification is not reversible, but you can prevent it from worsening with lifestyle modifications such as not smoking, managing your blood pressure and cholesterol, and maintaining a healthy weight.
Angioplasty improves blood flow through the arteries by clearing plaque buildup.
Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery
Coronary artery bypass surgery, also known as coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG), restores normal blood flow through narrowed or blocked coronary arteries by using a healthy blood vessel taken from your leg, arm, or chest to create a detour around the problem area.
Off-Pump Bypass Surgery (Beating-Heart Bypass)
Off-pump bypass surgery, also known as beating-heart bypass surgery, is an option for many patients to have coronary artery bypass surgery without needing to stop the heart or lungs during the procedure.
Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our Cardiologists.
Have questions for our heart and vascular program? Email us at AskMHVI@medstar.net.