Calcium Scoring

A noninvasive test for patients with intermediate-level risk of heart disease but no symptoms.

During annual physicals, doctors often make an assessment of a patient’s heart disease risk level. Issues such as hypertension (high blood pressure), obesity, smoking history, age, inactivity, diabetes, and family medical history may place patients at higher risk. In this type of assessment, the patient’s risk level of dying of a heart attack within the next 10 years may be classified as low, intermediate, or high.

Patients at high risk are candidates for immediate medical interventions, such as a combination of medications and lifestyle changes, to reduce coronary artery disease risk. Those at intermediate risk are candidates for additional testing, to see if treatments are necessary.

Cardiac CT for Calcium Scoring is a noninvasive test to look for signs of heart disease for patients at intermediate-level risk. The exam uses X-rays and computerized image processing to produce detailed images of the coronary arteries, followed by a computer-assisted analysis that detects calcium deposits—a key indicator of arterial blockage.

A patient’s calcium score helps doctors determine whether the heart disease risk may be higher than the initial screening indicated, warranting additional testing and possible treatment.

Cardiac CT for calcium scoring is a fast, painless exam, and it takes only a few minutes to complete.