Coronary artery calcium scoring

Coronary calcium scans

This test looks for calcification in the coronary arteries, which can then be measured, scored and compared against other patients of a similar age and gender

About calcium scoring

Calcium in the heart arteries (coronary calcium) occurs when there is a build-up of plaque narrowing the arteries. This can be easily detected using a specific CT scan and then measured using a computer.

The calcium score is the measurement of the build-up and is used to detect early heart disease or to predict the risk of developing future cardiac problems and prevent heart attacks. The early detection of disease before symptoms develop enables early preventative measures and lifestyle changes to be prescribed, helping to reduce the risk of future damage to the heart.

Need to know

  • About the Cardiac CT Scan icon plus

    You will be asked to lie down on the CT scanning table. Four heart sensors will then be placed on your chest, enabling us to take still images of your heart. As you move in and out of the scanner, the radiographer will take a some CT planning scans. This is to localise the position of the heart within your chest.

    Following this, the coronary calcium scan that will only take a few seconds to perform. Your scan will then be reviewed by a consultant radiologist who will look to see if calcium is present within your heart arteries. If calcium is detected, the result will be compared with a database of over 25,000 individuals. The results will be plotted against your peers, by age and gender. This will enable your consultant to assess your relative risk. Your CT scan will take around 15 minutes to complete.

  • How to prepare for your scan icon plus

    Your consultant will explain the calcium scoring test to you and answer any questions you may have prior to your scan. On the day of the scan it is advised to wear loose comfortable clothing. 
  • After the scan icon plus

    There is no recovery time or side effects associated with the cardiac CT scan with calcium scoring. You'll be able to return home shortly after the scan.

    The images from the scan will be reviewed by a radiologist and the results will be sent directly to your consultant. At your follow-up appointment your consultant will discuss your results and any next steps.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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