Do I need a heart scan?

The heart scan is aimed at those who are at increased risk of developing coronary heart disease (CHD). A heart scan is advisable if you are a man of over 35 or a woman of over 40 years, and one or more of these risk factors applies to you:
· Family history of heart disease

· High cholesterol

· High blood pressure

· Smoking

· Overweight and sedentary lifestyle

· Diabetes

· Stressful lifestyle

The EBCT heart scan is also an important tool for diagnosing the presence of CHD in people with non-specific symptoms, such as shortness of breath of chest pain, and for checking the progression of disease in those patients who have already been diagnosed with the condition.

 
A 3D image of an EBCT Heart Scan
The diagnosis of heart disease using EBCT
CHD is still the cause of most deaths in the UK; one third of men and a quarter of all women will die from it. 350,000 people suffer a heart attack every year, 125,000 of which are fatal, and in a significant proportion of deaths there are no previous symptoms.

CHD results from hardening and furring up of the coronary arteries (atherosclerosis). Small deposits (plaques) of fat containing calcium build up on the inside of the arteries and the amount of this calcification has proved a very reliable indicator of the extent of heart disease. EBCT can pick up even minute amounts of calcium very accurately and thus atherosclerosis can be detected ten to fifteen years before it causes symptoms.

With the EBCT heart scan we can locate and quantify any calcium deposits within your coronary arteries to calculate your ‘calcium store’. This personal score is compared to those of tens of thousands of other patients to determine your individual risk of CHD.

Once the risks are known, we can advise on appropriate treatment. Fortunately there is overwhelming evidence to show that atherosclerosis, if identified early enough, can be stabilised and controlled with modern therapies and lifestyle changes.


Do I need to prepare for the scan?
No special preparation is needed for the heart scan and you remain fully clothed throughout. The actual time you spend in the scanner is about 15 minutes.