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JLeslie's avatar

Does a cardiac CT scan show calcium build up on heart valves?

Asked by JLeslie (65333points) September 22nd, 2023
11 responses
“Great Question” (1points)

I know it shows calcium in the arteries around the heart, but I don’t know if it would show calcium on the aortic valve or valves within the heart.

Thanks!

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Answers

zenvelo's avatar

I had a PET scan done at Stanford Medical Center three years ago, and it was a thorough check of my heart arteries, chambers, and valves. So a scan can and will check all that, A CT will create an image showing the structure of the organs being scanned.

Questions like this are best discussed with your cardiologist..

Lightlyseared's avatar

A CT scan will show calcium on the valves and can be used to diagnose aortic stenosis.

jca2's avatar

@JLeslie Did you try googling “what does a cardiac CT scan show?”

JLeslie's avatar

@Lightlyseared Are you the jelly that works with xray, MRI, etc?

@jca2 I did google first and it was not clear. I googled about the scans and then about the condition and how it’s diagnosed. It mentioned echo, which I get done fairly regularly now. I don’t have any symptoms unless you count my erratic blood pressure.

I had the CT scan done a couple of years ago and it showed calcium in my right main artery. I started to wonder if that meant at that time none was found on the valves.

My mom just had valve surgery because of calcium on the valve. She and I both have bad blood values for certain tests that raise the chance of heart attack very high. She has had osteoporosis for a while and probably had extremely low D for many many years, so the calcium was probably not going or staying in the bone and settling in soft tissue. That’s my thought on it anyway, but I think it’s more complicated than that.

JLeslie's avatar

@zenvelo I don’t know about the PET, I think mine was just CT, I would have to pull the paper. I think one problem with the CT scan is it shows calcium, but not other types of damage or blockage.

smudges's avatar

I’m pretty sure it does, but can’t swear to it. I think when I had my TAVR (transcatheter aortic valve replacement) they mentioned calcium build up in the aortic valve. It can build up again, at which point, if it was leaking again, they’d do another TAVR and put a new valve inside the replaced valve. They don’t remove the “bad” one, just put a new one inside of it. Interesting, huh?

JLeslie's avatar

@smudges My mom just had it done last week, the new valve with the old.

smudges's avatar

Very cool what they can do, eh? I wondered if that was what you were referring to.

JLeslie's avatar

@smudges I guess they call it a procedure not surgery? I’ve known I am high risk for cardiac problems even without my mom just having this valve problem. It is amazing she got to 80 until finally needing some serious medical intervention.

An acquaintance of mine through a car club just wrote yesterday on facebook that he had some symptoms and wound up getting a stent. I think he is a little younger than me. He said he thought the nurses were surprised he was so young and having heart trouble, but I seriously doubt they were surprised, it is not uncommon for 50 somethings to have serious heart issues. He had no history of high cholesterol. He seemed shocked he would have a cardiac problem.

I asked him if he had low vitamin D and he responded that he takes D supplements, which means nothing. That is commonly the response I get when I ask, people seem to not differentiate between taking D and actually finding out if they are low in D. His calcium score was 82, so now I am curious to see what my score was? I don’t remember it that way. I remember reading 10% block right main artery or something like that? I don’t count on my memory for it, I need to pull the paper.

I have been really tired, especially during exercise, but I am under tremendous stress right now. I went to get a stress test, and stopped before they wanted me too, but they said everything is fine. Usually after a stress test I feel like shit for three days, and I am tired of that, it seems unnecessary. When you are young they push your heart to a crazy number, and it takes forever to get there. I always feel like I need a blood test for heart damage afterwards, so this time I said I wanted to stop when it was getting really hard to get my heart rate higher. Of course, we all know stories of people who died three weeks after a stress test. My muscles are hurting a lot too, I started taking statins again, but it seemed ok initially, I don’t know if it is related. Totally sucks, I have no idea what is going on, and likely a doctor won’t eaither. I probably should get a blood test for kidney and muscle.

JLeslie's avatar

I looked up my test. It says my score was 17.6 and puts me in the 75th to 90th percentile for risk of adverse cardiac event. It says mostly in the right main artery, but not solely now that I read it again. It might be worse now, it was done two years ago.

smudges's avatar

Yes, it’s a procedure, not surgery, but they have the cardio team and surgeon right there in the room in case they suddenly need to do open heart, and they get your permission before they begin the TAVR.

I had open heart surgery for an ascending aortic aneurysm (the arterial arch near your throat) a week after my 50th birthday. It would have been the day of, but I’d developed an infected tooth. They’d been measuring the size of the coartation for 6–7 years and it finally got big enough that they had to do surgery before it ruptured. They don’t do it until it’s a certain size because in some people it never grows to that point. They said I was really young for that particular issue. It normally happens after 65. 2 years ago I had the TAVR and they said I was unique – that normally people need the TAVR before the aneurysm surgery and I was the opposite.

I had a co-worker who had gone jogging either the day of, or a couple of days before, a stress test, which was normal. He died of a heart attack on his birthday in the shower while we were waiting for him to show up for his party at a restaurant. In his 50’s I believe.

I’ve had a few stress tests, also. Two were on the treadmill and the latest was the injections to make your heart behave as if it’s exercising.

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