Cardiac Calcium Scoring





No plaque is present. You have less than
a 5% chance of having heart disease.
Your risk of a heart attack is very low.


A small amount of plaque is present. You
have less than a 10% chance of having
heart disease. Your risk of a heart attack
is low. However, you may want to quit
smoking, eat better, and exercise more.


Plaque is present. You have mild heart
disease. Your chance of having a heart
attack is moderate. Talk with your doctor
about quitting smoking, eating better,
beginning an exercise program, and any
other treatment you may need.


A moderate amount of plaque is present.
You have heart disease, and plaque may
be blocking an artery. Your chance
of having a heart attack is moderate to
high. Your health professional may want
more tests and may start treatment.
400+ A large amount of plaque is present.
You have more than a 90% chance that
plaque is blocking one of your arteries.
Your chance of having a heart attack is
high. Your health professional will want
more tests and will start treatment.


Is Your Heart Worth One Minute?

Text Size: Reduce text size  Enlarge text size
Cardiac calcium scoring uses a special X-ray called Computed Tomography (CT) scan to measure calcium buildup in the coronary arteries. Normally, coronary arteries do not contain calcium. Cholesterol buildup is associated with calcium deposits that represent hardening of the coronary arteries (atherosclerosis or CAD) which leads to heart attacks. A CT scan takes hundreds of pictures of the heart in less than 20 seconds. Cardiac calcium scoring is a better predictor of coronary events than cholesterol screening or other non-invasive tests.

Who’s at risk?

Cardiac calcium scoring will tell you how much coronary artery disease you have and will predict your chance of having a heart attack. This test is especially helpful in patients who have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, a family history of heart disease, cigarette smoking or diabetes. Risk also increases with age.

How long will it take?

The test takes less than one minute and requires no injections, no dye, no treadmills, and no fasting. It’s painless and safe, although there is always a slight risk from being exposed to any radiation.

Cardiac Calcium Scoring is a painless, safe and affordable test that determines your risk for heart disease and heart attacks-one minute could save your life.


Normal CT Scan
Calcium Score 0 
No evidence of plaque


Abnormal CT Scan
Calcium Score over 400
Extensive plaque evidence

  • Heart disease is the number one cause of death for men and women
  • Cardiovascular disease accounts for 1 death every 34 seconds
  • Approximately 50% of heart attacks occur in people with no previous history of heart disease
  • 35% of people with heart disease have a normal cholesterol level
  • 45% of all heart attacks occur in people under the age of 65



"The most promising use of these technologies is calcium scoring for risk assessment of the asymptomatic individual, whereby elevated calcium scores may trigger more vigorous application of both lifestyle and/or pharmacological therapies targeted to lower cardiovascular risk."

American Heart Association, October 2006




Southcoast Physicians Group An affiliate of Southcoast Physicians Group.