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Can a calcium scan tell me how blocked my arteries are?

A plaque detector or coronary calcium scan (CAS) will be able to tell you whether you have heart disease. It can detect heart disease at its very early stage, even before any cardiac symptoms are noticeable and even before your stress test indicate any abnormality. This is especially beneficial for those who have no symptoms but who may have one or more of the following cardiac risk factors :

1. ) age ( males above 40, females above 45 )
2. ) smoker
3. ) high cholesterol
4. ) inactive lifestyle
5. ) family history of heart disease
6. ) high blood pressure
7. ) overweight
8. ) diabetes

If you wish to find out how blocked your arteries are, a non-invasive CT Angiogram ( CTA ) will be able to do so to an accuracy of greater than 90%. This involves the use of non-ionic ( to minimize risk of allergies ) contrast or dye injected through a vein in the arm. The computer then reconstructs the images to enable you and your doctor to visualize the coronary arteries in 3D. The CTA will give valuable information to the patient and his doctor prior to a traditional invasive angiogram and is useful for certain indications depending on the condition of the individual.

A normal CTA means that the patient does not have to undergo an invasive angiogram. However an invasive angiogram may still be needed when severe obstructive coronary artery disease is diagnosed and when it is necessary to undergo angioplasty or bypass surgery.

The indications for CTA are as follows :-

- "Symptomatic" patients with mild  to moderate coronary calcification
- "Sub-clinical" patients with severe coronary calcification
- Follow-up of coronary angioplasty, coronary bypass
- Follow-up of coronary patency post MI or stent
- Assessment of coronary artery congenital or acquired anomalies
- "Low risk" patients with abnormal stress tests

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Mahameru International Medical Centre S/B
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59000, Kuala Lumpur

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3° 8' 2.4" 101° 40' 31.72"

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