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Calcium score and plaque buildup.

Q: Recently, my calcium score was around 630, and my left anterior descending artery was 50 to 70 percent blocked. A thallium stress test was normal, so my doctor is taking a wait-and-see attitude. What might be done further, and what is the correlation between calcium score and soft plaque buildup?

A calcium score is obtained with a special x-ray technique called computed tomography that takes pictures of the heart and determines whether any calcium buildup exists in the coronary arteries supplying the heart with blood. A score exceeding 400 generally indicates that a large amount of plaque is present and obstructing a coronary artery, with a chance of the individual having a future heart attack. Your calcium score is quite high, but your doctor knows more about you than I do, and watchful waiting may be best.

It is important for you to realize, however, that a negative thallium stress test at times may be insufficient to accurately predict the degree of coronary obstruction, and a heart catheterization may be indicated as the next step in your evaluation.

ABOUT THE EXPERT

Internationally acclaimed cardiologist, distinguished professor, author and inventor Dr. Douglas P. Zipes is an authority on what is called pacing and electrophysiology (rhythms of the heart).
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Title Annotation:Heart Health: Ask Dr Zipes: A noted cardiologist answers your questions
Author:Zipes, Douglas P.
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2008
Words:208
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