High calcium in my coronary arteries

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Submitted by Dr T on November 17, 2011 – 8:27am

Three yrs ago I failed a stress test and underwent a heart catherization. 20-30% was the estimate. So I had a false positive.Two days ago I had a high res ECG synchronized computed tomography of the heart along with a full body scan. Calcium score was 1801. Before starting that test after having electrodes placed on me were beeping like crazy. Tech said wow ur pulse is way up. If it took 65 yrs to get to 20-30% blockage, I’m having difficulty in jumping in for another catherization after having that one 3 yrs ago. Read a few articles online suggesting high pulse rates can affect the test. Opinion pls. Is my logic reasonable or flawed. Thanks Rob.

Hi Rob,
1. Your heart catherization was not “false positive”, it just didn’t show a serious blockage. This is unusual, considering you had a positve stress test. However, this alone should have indicated you were at a high risk for heart disease and doctors start treatment for the associated risk factors such as a high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, obesity and smoking.
2. Your calcium score is very high, and usually associated with coronary artery disease.
3. At this point, rather than catherization, your doctors (and you) should check your symptoms & risks first.
4. Depending on the results, the next step should include a stress test (just like I suggested above).

If positive, depending on your symptoms, a choice between catherization or CTCA would be the next step. A cath would be a more logical choice if interventions such as stenting or bypass surgery are considered. Often CTCA is adequate.

Treatment depends on the results of all these tests. However, no matter what the outcome, there are things you can and should do.

For more information about how medical decisions are made, you might want to read this actual evaluation.

Hope this helps,
Dr T

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