Coronary Calcium

A coronary calcium score can predict heart attack risk. Find out your score with a simple heart scan at Wake Radiology.


A coronary calcium scoring exam (CCS), also known as coronary calcium scan or cardiac CT calcium scoring, is a non-invasive imaging test used to detect and measure calcium deposits in the coronary arteries of the heart. These deposits are a sign of coronary artery disease (CAD), which occurs when plaque builds up in the coronary arteries, narrowing them and reducing blood flow to the heart.
  • Coronary calcium scoring is a quick and painless CT scan that measures the amount of calcium in the coronary arteries. This level of calcium relates to plaque build-up in your arteries.
  • The total amount of plaque is calculated to determine your calcium score.
  • A coronary calcium score can range from 0 to over 400.  A higher score suggests you have an increased risk for heart attack or stroke.

Are you at Risk?


Knowing your coronary calcium score – especially for those who have a high risk – can help healthcare providers take active measures to protect you from heart attack and stroke. 

While calcium scoring can be useful for all patients, it’s typically recommended for men over age 45 and postmenopausal women over age 55 who also have one or more major risk factors for a heart attack:

  • Elevated LDL (bad) cholesterol or low HDL (good) cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Overweight/obese
  • Past or present smoker
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Family history of heart disease
  • Non-traditional risk factors


What should I expect during a CT coronary calcium scoring scan?

  • A CT coronary calcium scan is fast, easy and non-invasive.
  • Please avoid caffeine and smoking for four hours prior to the exam.
  • You will be asked to lie on your back on a movable table. The CT technologist will position your arms over your head.
  • Before the scan begins, sticky patches called electrodes will be attached to your chest and will measure your heartbeat.
  • You will need to stay still during the scan. 
  • Patients are typically in and out in less than 30 minutes. 

Why should I choose Wake Radiology for my heart scan?

The radiologists at Wake Radiology UNC REX have subspecialized expertise in heart imaging. They are trained in interpreting CT images and will send a complete, detailed report to the provider who referred you for exam. 

All Wake Radiology locations are accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR). This means our practice has met quality guidelines and follows strict safety protocols at all offices that perform computed tomography. 

How do I schedule a coronary calcium scoring screening?

Talk with your healthcare provider about the benefits of a coronary calcium scan. Once you have your physician’s referral, contact our Scheduling Team at 919-232-4700 to find an outpatient imaging location near where you live or work.

Will your scan be covered by insurance?

Medicare and most insurance companies do not pay for this study. Wake Radiology recommends that patients check with their insurance company before scheduling their CT coronary calcium scoring scan to confirm coverage. Our billing department will file the claim if your plan provides coverage for coronary calcium scoring.


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