Coronary Artery Calcification

Happy 4th to all. This past week, I was weeding thru a mound of medical reports and came across two reports that concern me. I am just noticing these now. Two years ago I had a CT scan of the chest that a doctor ordered after on goping chest pain after a stent. Today, I am readingthat this report indicates severe calcification in the lAD and RCA arteries. This is where the stents were placed. In Janaury 2007, I had another CT scan of the chest at anothe place due to something seen on a plain chest x-ray. That turned out to be nothing but also on that CT scan of the chest the radiologist noted: Extensive coronary artery calcification. I quickly googled this and not sure what to think about the seriolusness of this as I do have stents. Or is the stents pushing the calcification to the sides of the artery. Has anyone here experienced this with stents or no stents and was the utimate outcome by-pass surgery? I hate to think that I have to have another heart cath to check this out. This CT scan of the chest was not the 64 slice Fast CT angiogram test. Something more to worry about. Thanks for your input.
Annie

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Annie
I don't really have an answer for you right now. I too just had a cat scan of my chest with contrast die due to ongoing chest pain. I was viewing the CD of it from the hospital and of course it all looks foriegn to me. But what I did understand were the radiologist notes on the side that said tumor on left upper lung and foriegn matter undetermined on lower right. Then it said calicification build up in major aeteries. In another section it discussed my stent that was seen.
I go back at the end of the month for another cat scan to check the tumor and other things then to the pulmonary doctor. I will ask him about this calcification. It kind of concerned me too.
Maybe someone else may know before then.
Hey nice name..
Have a great day.
Annie

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Hi Annie....I think that even cardiologists will disagree among themselves on the importance of artery calicification. My 64 slice CT scan showed quite a bit of calcification, but my cardiologist was only concerned about the fatty "soft" plaque blockages I had. He explained that the calcified areas were old "hard" healed places where that had been tears (fatty plaque breaking off) or lesions in the past. I think his view is that calcium in coronary arteries is an indication showing a risk, requiring paying extra attention to cholesterol levels, blood pressure, exercise, weight, etc.

I copied and pasted something I found by searching on the WomenHeart website....don't know if it will help or not...

"As fatty plaque builds up in the arteries of the heart, calcium accumulates in the plaque and contributes to the hardening of the arteries. The amount of calcium in your arteries may predict whether or not you are at high risk for future heart problems, such as a heart attack. (The calcium in your arteries is not related to the calcium in your diet.)"

Ask you doctor about it, but please try not to fret over it. I know there is a lot to worry about if we let ourselves. Been there. Done that. And I still do sometimes, but I've also learned that worrying doesn't help....just like rocking really hard in a rocking chair isn't going to get me across the room. Your mind is a very powerful thing. Use it to help your body heal by looking for positive and peaceful things to "worry" about. That's done wonders for me.

Be well!

One of your many heart-sisters,

Sandy

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Hi Annie,

I just wanted to throw my 1&1/2 cents into the pot about your post. From what I know and have learned once there is a real calcification within the artery walls that's where the term hardening of the arteries comes into to play. I have 2 stents and I remember that my cardiologist told me that if an artery has too much calcification within the wall of that artery a stent will be place in the area that has softer plaque build up.

When I speak to middle school students about heart disease I use this example. Think of your arteries like cooked noodles, soft and bendable. That allows the artery to fill up with blood and to allow for any increase in bloodpressure, better blood flow. When the artery becomes harden or filled with soft plaque, that is like a drinking straw. So that's the Arterioscieosis related to heart disease.

I think that depending on the degree of the build up and calcification within the artey wall would determine where the stent needs to be placed. I agree with Sandy about asking your doctor for full disclosure on the stent placements. Ask him to fully explain how this will effect you and your heart related situation. And ask him about future treatments. I would think that there is a diagram of your heart on your chart that the doctor can refere to, just nail him down on your questions.

2 terms to be aware of are Atheroscierosis and Arterioscierosis. Ask which one or do both refer to your condition. Basically these 2 words are related in the same manner, hardening of the arteries, and the formation of fatty nodules on the hardening artery wall(s).

Everything about what we experience sounds scarry, it is. But you can empower yourself by asking the questions that most concern you. Knowledge will give you power and power will give you strength. don't fuss about this too much. Wait and talk it over with your physician.

Just think about your up and coming weekend and have a great time. Things will be alright, just wait and see. I"m wishing you a joyous weekend. Be safe, God bless you.

Take care
CJ

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