Coronary Calcium Scoring - CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System

Skip to Content

Section Menu

Coronary Calcium Scoring

What is coronary calcium scoring?

A simple heart scan called coronary calcium scoring can detect your risk of cardiovascular disease. The noninvasive exam takes only minutes to perform and is used to determine the presence of calcified plaque in the arteries. Coronary calcium scan

Plaque is composed of fat, cholesterol and calcium. The plaque in the coronary arteries—the arteries that supply blood to the heart—narrows blood flow. This condition, known as atherosclerosis, increases the likelihood of a future heart attack, heart failure and stroke. Early detection enables physicians to provide aggressive treatment that will hopefully prevent major heart attacks or even cardiac death.

The result of the test is called a ‘coronary calcium score.’ The amount of calcium detected during the scan is used to calculate a score that is combined with other health information to determine your risk of coronary artery disease and heart attack.

Why have a coronary calcium scan?

Coronary calcium scoring is a simple, fast, safe and accurate procedure that uses a CT scan to identify buildup of plaque in the walls of the arteries of the heart. It enables the physician to estimate your risk of heart attack, detect heart disease in early stages, and even treat a heart condition before the patient experiences any symptoms of the disease.

Treatment may include recommendations of lifestyle changes and medical therapy to decrease your risk of having a heart attack or even sudden death. This type of intervention can help patients avoid potential extensive, many times irreversible damage.

Who should have a scan?

All men and women with an intermediate risk for coronary artery disease should consider having a coronary calcium screening. You are encouraged to have a heart scan if you have one or more of the following risk factors:

  • Family history of heart disease
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Current or prior tobacco usage
  • History of prolonged exposure to second-hand smoke
  • Age (men between ages 40-65 and women between ages 45-70)

Know your score

Calcium score result

An elevated calcium score is associated with an increased risk of heart attack and death.

Calcium score presence of plaque:

  • 0 - No evidence of plaque
  • 1 - 10 Minimal evidence of plaque
  • 11 - 100 Mild evidence of plaque
  • 101 - 400 Moderate evidence of plaque
  • Over 400 - Extensive evidence of plaque

What happens during the procedure?

The cardiac calcium scoring scan is a simple test done with minimal radiation exposure – one-third of the radiation that we receive from natural sources annually. There are no injections or dyes involved, and no preparation or disrobing is needed; the patient simply lies on the table as the CT scanner moves you through the “doughnut” shaped opening for a few seconds. There is no disturbing noise in the room, and the patient experiences no discomfort.

How should I schedule a screening?

If you meet certain health criteria* you can schedule a screening without a physician referral. Please consult with your primary care physician or call us at (903) 606-4700 today to schedule your cardiac calcium screening.  Unfortunately, this test is currently not covered by insurance. We are pleased to offer this test at a cash price of only $49. Payment is due at the time of service. Cash, checks and credit cards are accepted.

Criteria for self-referral:

Person to be screened must be male between ages 40-65 or female between ages 45-70 AND have at least one of the following risk factors:

  • Current smoker
  • Obesity
  • Family history of heart disease
  • Cholesterol level greater than 160 mg/dl (LDL)
  • Blood pressure greater than 140/90 mmHg

Experts agree that you should not get a calcium score heart scan if you have had a heart attack, undergone coronary bypass surgery, or had angioplasty with or without stent placement.  A calcium score is a screening tool for someone who may be at risk of heart disease — not someone who already has heart disease.


Schedule an Appointment

To schedule an appointment, call (903) 606-3000, or fill out our online form.

Related Locations