Heart Scan | Do you need one?

  • 02/15/2018

February is American Heart Month! All of us at the Southwest Medical Village wants to make sure that our community is aware that preventive care can have a large impact on your heart. For instance, many of us are aware that calcium is great for our bones. However, did you know that doctors can use a Heart Scan to help you avoid a heart attack?

Heart Scans have various names including Coronary calcium scan, Cardiac scan test and cardiac CT for calcium scoring.  This type of scan will take pictures of your arteries and how they carry blood away from your heart; checking if calcium is tied in with plaque.  This kind of calcium, called “calcified” plaque is not good for your heart as it builds up over time in your arteries.  This hard plaque can clog the arteries and slow the blood flow; which means that some parts of your body are not getting the oxygen needed. Some symptoms can make you have chest pain and discomfort.   If the plaque breaks open, it can cause a blood clot which could cause a heart attack.

CT heart scans tell you the amount of calcified plaque is in your heart’s arteries. After the scan, you and your doctor will talk about the results; deciding if you need to make any changes in your lifestyle or medications.

These types of tests are not for everyone, as you need to talk with your doctor about your level of risk based on your age, blood pressure, cholesterol level, smoking habits, family history and some other factors.

Heart scans are relatively simple, noninvasive and painless, typically lasting 10-15 minutes.  While this kind of test might not be covered by your insurance, ARA Diagnostic Imaging offers CT calcium scoring for coronary artery plaque for only $75.  Considering the impact of a heart attack, this scan can be a lifesaver.

We want to encourage you to talk with your doctor about your risk of heart disease.  If you don’t have a doctor, you can schedule an appointment with Premier Family Physicians. They have five locations in the Austin area.

The Southwest Medical Village was designed to help you take care of your healthcare needs under one roof.  In this situation, you can schedule an appointment with Premier Family Physicians and ARA Diagnostic Imaging all in the same day.  Simple and efficient.