About Coronary Calcium Scan

This is a CT scan of the chest that is designed to detect calcium in the coronary arteries; these are the vessels involved in heart attacks.  We quantify or measure the amount of calcium and calculate what is known as the coronary calcium score.  This number represents the amount of atherosclerosis in the coronary vessels.  

The coronary calcium score is used to assess ones risk of having a heart attack or death before symptoms of heart disease develop.  It is superior to using traditional risk factors alone to predict a patient’s risk.  

When Should I Have a Coronary Calcium Scan?

The best candidates for the test are those with:

  • No symptoms of heart disease AND
  • Risk factors for heart disease

The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology have recently stated that it is reasonable to use coronary calcium scoring in patients with a 10-20% chance of having a heart attack based on the Framingham risk score.  The Framingham risk score uses risk factors to estimate one’s chances of having a heart attack or death over a 10 year period. Determine your Framingham risk score using our interactive tool.

What Will the Exam Be Like?

The exam is very similar to any CT scan.  There is no need for an injection of contrast or dye.  The patient lies down on a scanning bed and will be asked to hold his/her breath for 9-12 seconds as the pictures are taken.   

How Long Will the Exam Take?

The exam is very brief and will take less than 15 minutes to perform. 

Where Do I Check-in for My Exam?

We ask patients to go to the hospital registration desk and then to the Radiology waiting area. 

How Will I Learn the Results?

We report the results to your physician and allow your physician to discuss the results with you. 

How Should I Prepare for a Coronary Calcium Scan?

There are no special preparations for this test.

Schedule an Appointment

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 888.364.6400.

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