Mammogram for your heart

With the booming popularity of "64-slice CT scans", there's a lot of mis-information about what these tests provide.

These tests are essentially heart scans with added x-ray dye injected to see the insides of the arteries. However, to accomplish this, a large quantity of radiation is required. In addition, the test is not quantitative, that is, it is not a precise measure that can be repeated year after year.

It is okay to have a 64-slice CT coronary angiogram. It is NOT okay to have one every year. That's too much radiation. However, a heart scan can be repeated every year, if necessary, to track progression or regression. Once stabilization (zero change) or reduction is achieved, then you're done (unless your life takes a major change, like a 20 lb weight gain).

The tried-and-true CT heart scan is the gold standard--easy, inexpensive, precise, and repeatable. Not true for 64-slice angiograms.