One in four individuals is at risk for heart disease. Half will die, and most without experiencing prior symptoms.
The good news is that a CardioScan—a 15-minute CT scan—can help identify plaque buildup and help you prevent heart disease. Thanks to early diagnosis using this cutting-edge technology, 85 percent of heart disease cases can be slowed down or even stopped.
Saint Luke’s was first in Kansas City to offer CardioScan. And after more than 10 years of success, CardioScan continues to be a vital tool in the fight against heart disease.
A CardioScan costs $50 (usually not covered by insurance).
Call Saint Luke’s Concierge at 816-932-5100 to find the location nearest you and schedule an appointment.
Frequently Asked Questions
A CardioScan is a special type of CT scan that detects calcified plaque in the coronary arteries. This calcified plaque indicates coronary artery disease, commonly referred to as "hardening of the arteries." As more plaque builds up, arteries get narrower and the risk of a heart attack increases. However, identifying plaque build-up early allows you and your doctor to treat modifiable risk factors and determine whether any additional testing is required to help prevent heart attack.
Are there any age restrictions to having a Cardioscan?
No, there are no age restrictions and you do not need a doctor’s referral. You may self refer. However, men under the age of 40 and women under the age of 45 should have a physician referral. Typically men and women under these ages have a very low likelihood of having any coronary calcifications. If you are in this age range and have a strong family history of heart disease or other risk factors, your primary care physician may want to refer you for this scan.
What is involved in the test?
The exam takes about five minutes and doesn’t involve needles, prep, pain, or a physician’s referral. You will have three ECG leads placed on your chest and you will lie back with your arms above your head. When the table is in proper scanning position, the machine will instruct you how to breathe. You will need to hold your breath for 15 to 20 seconds two or three times during the scan. The scanner is not confining, and most patients don’t feel claustrophobic. Immediately following the scan, a registered nurse or exercise physiologist will explain the CardioScan results, counsel you on risk factor modification, and answer any questions you may have.
How long does a CardioScan take?
While the scan takes about five minutes, we ask that you allow 30 to 60 minutes from check-in to check-out to allow time for us to prepare you for the procedure and interpret your results.
Will I be exposed to radiation during the CardioScan?
There’s a small amount of radiation exposure involved with a CardioScan—about 1 mSv, which is just slightly more than the amount you’re exposed to each year from your everyday surroundings.
What if calcified plaque is identified?
A cardiologist with Saint Luke’s Cardiovascular Consultants will interpret your CardioScan. If your scan indicates minimal calcified plaque, we’ll recommend diet, exercise and other lifestyle changes that can minimize or stop the development of heart disease. If your exam reveals significant plaque, we recommend a cardiologist consultation to determine whether additional treatment or testing is needed.
Will you share my CardioScan results with my primary physician?
Yes, we will send your results to the doctor who referred you for the test. If you were not referred, we recommend sharing the results with your primary care physician, unless you instruct us otherwise.