Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Who should consider getting a coronary artery calcium CT ?
For men and women age 45 and above, a discussion with your doctor or healthcare provider regarding your risks for coronary artery disease should be the initial step. A calcium scoring CT may benefit those with intermediate risk and borderline intermediate risk. Your doctor can help determine your level of risk and a calcium scoring CT can add valuable information to make decisions on diet and lifestyle changes, and the possible use of statin therapy or other lipid-lowering medications.
Are there any contraindications / disqualifications for the exam ?
Calcium scoring CT should not be considered for individuals with a pacemaker, coronary artery stents, prior cardiac valve surgery, or bypass.
Is there any preparation prior to the exam ?
Other than refraining from caffeine or exercise just before your exam, no special preparation is needed.  Fasting is not necessary, and no preliminary lab work is required.
How long does the scan take ?
The actual scan time takes less than 15 seconds.
How much radiation will I be exposed to ?
The amount of radiation is comparatively small compared to other CT scans, approximately equivalent to four months of background/environmental radiation (such as from the sun and earth sources) or about 10 chest x-rays.  Mt. Baker Imaging operates the newest CT scanners in Whatcom County with the most advanced imaging technology, keeping radiation exposure to an absolute minimum.
Who will interpret my examination ?
A board-certified radiologist with subspecialized training in body and cardiac CT imaging will interpret your examination and create a detailed report that will include your calcium score and a percentile based on age and other demographic factors.  This information will be valuable to continue a discussion with your doctor regarding your overall risk for coronary artery disease. Typically, your doctor will be able to access your report results within 24 hours.