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Made a resolution to take better care of your health in 2017? University Hospitals Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute can help you get started with calcium scoring, an accurate, easy test to determine your heart attack risk - and help you decide if you need to change some habits. Calcium scoring is painless, fast and now available at no cost at University Hospitals medical centers and health centers across the area.
Calcium scoring – the full name is cardiac CT (computerized tomography) imaging for coronary artery calcium scoring – is a noninvasive imaging technology that accurately predicts an individual’s risk for heart attack over the next 10 years.
“Calcium scoring is a simple X-ray procedure that does not require an IV line or any dye,” says Roger Tsai, Chief of Cardiology at UH Portage Medical Center. “We get the results to referring physicians promptly so patient can quickly learn their risk.”
The test uses CT scanning to show the amount of calcium that has accumulated in the walls of the arteries in the heart. The more calcium present, the higher the heart attack risk. Scores can range from 0 (lowest risk) to greater than 400 (highest risk).
Calcium scoring has been available for several years, but few people have had it done because it is a relatively costly test, and it is not covered by insurance. UH decided to make the test available at no cost because of its significant potential to impact the health of northeast Ohio residents.
“We recommend calcium scoring for men age 45 or older and women age 50 or older who don’t have coronary artery disease but have at least one risk factor for it,” Dr. Tsai says. Risk factors for coronary artery disease include high cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol), high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, Type 2 diabetes or a family history of heart disease. Additionally, people who are age 40 or older and have a chronic inflammatory condition such as lupus, psoriasis or inflammatory bowel disease also should be tested.
“For those at risk, learning your calcium score should be only the beginning of a proactive approach to heart attack prevention,” Dr. Tsai stresses. He recommends that anyone with a calcium score of 100 or higher consult with a cardiologist to develop a comprehensive program to reduce their risk
“We cannot change an individual’s genetic makeup if there is heart disease in the family,” he notes. “But we can help people reduce their chance of having a heart attack by helping them make some healthy changes in their lives.”
Area residents interested in undergoing no-cost calcium scoring at any UH location are invited to call UH Radiology Patient Access at 216-844-1700, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. to schedule the test. A physician order is required.
No-Cost Calcium Scoring Available at These UH Facilities
Call 216-844-1700 to schedule an appointment at any of the facilities listed below. Click here to see the list of all 18 UH locations offering the free test.
UH Geauga Medical Center, 13207 Ravenna Road, Radiology Department, Chardon, Ohio 44024
UH Portage Medical Center, 6847 North Chestnut Street, Radiology Department, Ravenna, Ohio 44266
UH Twinsburg Health Center, 8819 Commons Boulevard, Radiology Suite 103, Twinsburg, Ohio 44087