There has been a lot of buzz in the news recently about coronary CT, also known as CT Coronary Angiography (CTCA). This is a noninvasive scan done to check for blockages in the heart’s coronary arteries.
Why would someone get a coronary CT? There are 3 main reasons.
There are many reasons someone would have chest pain. Coronary CT can help distinguish true angina from other sources of chest pain like GERD, asthma and anxiety. Because it is noninvasive and doesn’t require IV medication or running on a treadmill, for some patients a coronary CT can be a good diagnostic option.
When someone has high cholesterol, we manage it based on their risk of having a heart attack in the next 10 years. Our current model of estimating risk is actually not that great, unfortunately. Knowing whether or not a person already has blockages in their coronary arteries can clarify heart risk and help decide whether they need medication to bring down their cholesterol.
Knowledge is power!
If a person has a family history of heart disease and is concerned about their personal risk, a coronary CT can help clarify things. Similar to Lifeline screenings, a coronary CT is often available at low cost and sometimes is offered without a prescription.
Before you get a coronary CT, consider what you will do with the information. If you find that you have some hardening of the arteries in your heart, are you ready to get serious about diet, exercise and weight control? Are you ready to start taking a statin drug? Will you work hard to get your blood pressure under control?
If you get a coronary CT and it is clean, that’s great, and very reassuring. However, what will you do if it is NOT clean? Are you ready to do what you need to do to reduce your heart risk?
Before you get your coronary CT, think about what you will do with the results.
QUESTION: Have you thought about getting a coronary CT?