The result of the test is usually given as a number called an Agatston score. The score represents a combination of information that reflects the total area of calcium deposits and the density of the calcium.
A score of zero means no calcium is present in the heart and suggests a low likelihood to develop a heart attack in the future. When calcium is present, the higher the score, the higher the risk of attacks in the long term. A score of 100 to 300 — moderate plaque deposition — is associated with a relatively high risk of heart attack or other heart disease over the next three to five years. A score greater than 300 indicates very high to severe disease and heart attack risk.
You also may receive a percentile score, which indicates your amount of calcium relative to people of the same age and sex.
Discussing results with your doctor
Your doctor will discuss the results of the heart scan with you. Depending on the outcome, he or she may recommend:
- Continuing the current course of treatment
- Changing medications
- Changing your diet and exercise routine
- Setting new weight-loss goals
- Ordering additional tests
- Planning for follow-up appointments to monitor your health and adherence to a treatment plan
April 30, 2016
- What is a coronary calcium scan? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/cscan/. Accessed Jan. 12, 2016.
- Goff DC, et al. 2013 ACC/AHA guideline on the assessment of cardiovascular risk: A report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2014;63:2935.
- Gerber TC, et al. Diagnostic and prognostic implication of coronary artery calcification detected by computed tomography. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 12, 2016.
- Alluri K, et al. Scoring of coronary artery calcium scans: History, assumptions, current limitations, and future directions. Atherosclerosis. 2015;239:109.
- Greenland P, et al. 2010 ACCF/AHA guideline for assessment of cardiovascular risk in asymptomatic adults. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2010;56:e50.
- Hecht HS. Coronary artery calcium scanning: Past, present, and future. JACC Cardiovascular Imaging. 2015;8:579.
- Shah NR, et al. An evidence-based guide for coronary calcium scoring in asymptomatic patients without coronary heart disease. Texas Heart Institute Journal. 2012;39:240.
- Lopez-Jimenez F (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 23, 2016.
Heart scan (coronary calcium scan)