Save Your Heart. Get Your Calcium Score.

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What the American College of Cardiology is telling us with the above news: too many Americans are dying needlessly, that 415,000 cardiovascular deaths (out of the total 800,000 deaths annually) could have been prevented and also many of the 2.2 million cardiac hospitalizations. Had the federal Million Hearts Initiative succeeded in 2012, and it could have succeeded, there would have been 200,000 fewer deaths in 2016. Don’t be part of the statistics. Here is what you can do - save your heart. 

Coronary scan is for the heart just as mammography is for the breasts and colonoscopy is for the colon. Earlier disease detection saves lives. A 50 year old woman’s risk of dying from heart disease is 14 times greater than from breast cancer. Unlike annual mammography and colonoscopy, coronary calcium scan is usually performed only once or twice about 3 to 5 years apart.

Detecting cholesterol plaques build up in the coronary arteries earlier and then receiving optimal medical therapy before these plaques cause heart attack or stroke have the potential to save many tens of thousands of lives a year.

Coronary calcium scan is rapid CT scan that takes only less than 30 seconds to complete. There is no special preparation, no IV contrast, no exercise and very low radiation. The test costs between $50 to $100 and if your insurance does not cover it, consider it a gift to yourself.

Sudden Plaque Rupture Caused This

Detecting plaques earlier and getting optimal medical therapy can prevent plaque rupture and stop plaque progression can prevent a life threatening situation like the one shown above.

Save our healthcare-2

All these events are now largely preventable. 

Get your calcium score if you are male over 45 or female over 50 and have any one of these conditions also called cardiac risk factors: .

1. You smoke.

2. Have high cholesterol or taking statin.

3. Have high blood pressure or taking blood pressure medications.

4. Have diabetes or taking diabetic medication.

5. A family history of heart disease or stroke.

6. Have experienced chest pains and have none of the above risk factors.

7. If statin therapy was previously recommended but you decided to stop taking it for whatever reason.

The more risk factors you have, the more likely you have more plaques. More plaques mean higher risk. The higher the risk, the greater the benefits of medical therapy.

Examples of test results:


Calcium score of 0 (ZERO): Very low risk. Statin treatment is usually unnecessary. Chest pain is not likely to be cardiac. The likelihood of having a heart attack and stroke in the next 10 years is very low.


Calcium score of 522 with calcified plaques (marked locations) in all major arteries including the left main artery. Any of these plaques can rupture and cause a heart attack. The likelihood of having a heart attack, sudden cardiac death, having to need a stent or heart bypass within the next 5 to 10 years is very high but preventable. While a stent only treats one plaque, optimal medical therapy treats all plaques, not only in the heart but also in the brains. You have options. Medical treatment is covered by insurance.

All the three previous and current US presidents had a coronary calcium scan for their calcium score. Get your calcium score - your gift to yourself. Or to someone you care.

Watch the award-winning Netflix documentary - The Widowmaker.

More about coronary calcium scan - click here.

© Rolando L. deGoma MD  2019     Capital Cardiology Associates     Princeton Physicians' Organization