Diagnostic imaging is extensively used to detect heart diseases such as atherosclerosis. A CT scan is used to discover the presence of calcium deposits which are found in plaque in the coronary arteries. More coronary calcium means that the likelihood of narrowing somewhere in the coronary system is higher. The amount of coronary calcium is recognized as a significant predictor of future heart attack.
The CT scan creates cross-sectional views of the body using a computer to analyze multiple X-ray images created by the scan. The scan can be done with or without introducing a dye to help visualize circulation, heart anatomy and the aorta, arteries and pulmonary veins.
Using CT scan technology is the most effective way of detecting early heart disease. In addition to calcium-score screening, other methods available to detect heart disease are coronary CT angiography and a total body CT scan.