Cardiac calcium score scans are non-invasive tests used to check for the buildup of cholesterol and hardened, or calcified, plaque on the walls of the arteries in the heart. These tests can detect coronary artery disease before any symptoms occur to determine the severity of any pre-existing coronary artery disease.
Cardiac calcium scoring can:
- Identify if you have coronary artery disease (CAD)
- Determine the severity of the heart disease
- Help predict if symptoms will develop
During the test, a computer tomography (CT) scanner rotates around your body while a powerful computer creates detailed cross-sectional images, like slices, of the inside of your body.
If calcium deposits are present, they show up as bright white spots on the scan images. After a few minutes, you will have a cardiac calcium score that helps you estimate your heart attack risk.