During the procedure, you will lie comfortably on an imaging table. The technologist will attach small, sticky discs, called electrodes, to your chest and also to an electrocardiograph (ECG) machine, which will record the electrical activity of the heart. The table will then move through the CT scanner so it can take images of the coronary arteries. You will be asked to hold your breath for a period of 10 to 20 seconds while the images are recorded.
After the exam, a radiologist will review the images, looking for areas of arterial calcification (also known as plaque buildup). The total amount of plaque revealed in the images will be designated by a number called a Coronary Artery Calcium (CAC) score.
A negative CAC score shows no calcification within the coronary arteries. This suggests that CAD is absent or so minimal it cannot be seen by this technique and that the chance of having a heart attack over the next two to five years is very low.
A positive test, however, means that CAD is present, regardless of whether or not the patient is experiencing any symptoms. This suggests that you are at a higher risk of a myocardial infarction (heart attack) in the coming years. Your medical doctor or cardiologist may recommend taking preventive medicine or undertaking other measures such as diet and exercise to lower the risk for heart attack.