Harvard Heart Letter

Should you consider a coronary artery calcium scan?

If you're on the fence about whether to take a statin, this test might make sense.

Cardiologists constantly seek better ways to predict who will have a heart attack. Among the many potentially helpful options is a coronary artery calcium scan. This test uses a special x-ray machine called a computed tomography (CT) scanner that takes multiple pictures of the heart in thin sections. Combined, the scans produce a view that can reveal specks of calcium in the walls of the heart's arteries. These specks, called calcifications, are an early sign of cardiovascular disease.

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