Coronary Calcium Scan
Also known as calcium scan test.
A coronary calcium scan is a CT scan that detects and measures the amount of calcium in the walls of your coronary arteries.
Buildup of calcium, or calcifications, are a sign of atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, or coronary microvascular disease.
The test does not use contrast dye and will take about 10 to 15 minutes to complete.
A coronary calcium scan uses a special scanner such as an electron beam CT or a multidetector CT (MDCT) machine.
An MDCT machine is a much faster CT scanner that makes high-quality pictures of the beating heart.
A coronary calcium scan will determine an Agatston score that reflects the amount of calcium found in coronary arteries.
A score of zero is normal.
The higher your score, the more likely to have heart disease.
A coronary calcium scan has few risks.
There is a slight risk of cancer, particularly in people younger than 40 years old.
Modeling of radiation risk suggests that widespread screening for the buildup of calcium in the arteries using computed tomography scans would lead to an estimated 42 additional radiation-induced cancer cases per 100,000 men and 62 cases per 100,000 women.
Computed tomography (CT) has been proposed as a tool for routine screening for coronary artery calcification in asymptomatic individuals as part of a comprehensive risk assessment.
Radiation dose from a single scan can vary more than 10-fold.
Organs or tissues estimated to receive measurable radiation doses included the breast, lung, thyroid, esophagus, bone surface and adrenal glands.
Assuming screening every five years from the age of 45 to 75 years for men and 55 to 75 years for women, the estimated excess lifetime cancer risk using the median dose of 2.3 millisieverts was 42 cases per 100,000 men (range, 14 to 200 cases) and 62 cases per 100,000 women (range, 21 to 300 cases).