It’s been years since I’ve run head long into an ultra fast CT scan that just simply defies all logic. Ultra fast CT scans are used to stop the heart mid beat so the chambers and arteries can be looked at in detail. It has been touted as the answer to non invasive coronary artery disease diagnosis.

I’m working on a case right now, a long time client of mine, who had an ultra fast CT scan done through a United Way health fair that showed a calcium score of 763. That would put him in a severe CAD category. His doctor immediately referred him to a top notch cardiologist group where he underwent every kind of test that cardiologists use. You see, ultra fast ct scans are not used by many cardiologists. Ultra fast CT scans are generally done through health fairs or are heavily advertised and sold as the cheap, non invasive technique your doctor doesn’t have to check your ticker out.

The downside to this for the patient is that, as in the case of my client, he suddenly has a huge cardiac black mark in his records that while absolutely disproved by real cardiologists in multiple tests, still causes underwriting nightmares. My client has done a thallium stress test, more than one stress echocardiogram, has a cholesterol of 132 and HDL of 45. Every set of labs he has done since the calcium score scare has measured his cardiac risk factor. The average male has a cardiac risk factor of 4.97. My client’s risk factor at age 77 has averaged 3.1. The man is healthy and will eventually die from something, but not likely it will be anything to do with his heart.

The other downside is that this fairly cheap, non invasive test inevitably leads to more expensive and sometimes invasive testing if the score is high and a false sense of security if the score is low.

And to frost this cake it ends by painting an entirely unclear picture for both the person tested and the life insurance underwriter who has to decide what information to believe.

Bottom line. While the ultra fast CT scan may have brought to light potential cardiac problems, the track record of 50% of the tests giving invalid conclusions isn’t something that should be used as conclusive at all. If this issue has come up to bite you on life insurance, call or email me directly and we can see if we can patch the hole in your boat.