Heart scan curiosities 1

Heart scans often reveal more than coronary plaque. From time to time, I'll show some curious findings that people have displayed during routine heart scans.

This 65-year old man had a relatively low heart scan score of 73, but showed an impressive quantity of calcification of his pericardium, the usually soft-tissue sack that encases the heart. The calcified pericardium is the white arcs that surround the heart in the center of the image.

Thankfully, because he's without any symptoms of breathlessness, excessive fatigue, or leg swelling, he won't need to have it surgically corrected. When the pericardium becomes rigid and encircles the heart, it can literally squeeze the heart, a condition called "constrictive pericarditis". The surgery is pretty awful.

This man's calcified pericardium likely resulted from one or more viral infections over his lifetime.

Comments (3) -

  • Cindy

    11/29/2006 3:03:00 AM |

    curious....does calcification show up on a lung scan done with and without dye?

  • Dr. Davis

    11/29/2006 11:53:00 AM |

    Yes, it does.

  • Cindy Moore

    11/30/2006 4:35:00 AM |


    I have had 3 CT scans, lung for questionable areas in the lung found incidentally on a kidney CT scan (hematuria).

    So far all have come back normal, the initial areas are gone, and no new ones are showing up (they were very tiny, but mom had lung CA). I still have 3 or 4 more scans to go in the protocol, and wondered if it that would suffice. I'm an exsmoker and with family history, my doc is recomending continuing yearly after the protocol is done. For peace of mind I figured I'd probably continue.

    There is no family history of heart disease so far, even with rampant diabetes on one side of the family, so I'm not really concerned about heart disease, but this makes me feel better. (I have high cholesterol, but very low triglycerieds and high HDL and fairly good inflammatory markers...wgt is getting better, as is amount of activity/exercise, and I've quit smoking)

    The lung CT report doesn't mention calcifications/artherosclerosis specifically, but does say heart, mediastinum, etc all normal.