Heart calcium scoring

Doctor holding plastic model heart in hands Doctor holding plastic model heart in hands
Heart calcium scoring is an easy and powerful way to spot the early stages of heart disease while there's still time to stop it. 

What is heart calcium scoring?

Heart calcium scoring is a simple exam that can detect years of plaque build-up long before you have symptoms of heart disease. This potentially life-saving test takes approximately 15 minutes.

The scan is a computed tomography (CT) scan of the heart for the assessment of severity of coronary artery disease. The scan detects calcium deposits in the coronary arteries that can narrow arteries and increase the risk of heart attack. 

Who can benefit most?

In general, if you are a man over 30 or a woman over 40, or if you have the following risk factors, you should consider having a heart calcium scoring:
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Family history of heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Overweight or obese
  • Physically inactive

How is the test performed?

A special high-speed CT scanner is used to measure calcium in the arteries. It's pain-free and non-invasive. The scan takes approximately 20 to 30 seconds, but from start to finish the appointment takes approximately 15 minutes.

The scan detects the areas and density of the calcium on the arteries and establishes a calcium score. The score may range from zero, which is normal, to several hundred or more. A calcium score is calculated based on the amount of plaque detected in the CT scan.

Your likelihood of having heart disease or a heart attack correlates with your calcium score. The lower the calcium score and percentile rank, the less likely you are to have a cardiac event compared to other men or women your age.

You will be notified of your test results in writing. Then, if necessary, your doctor may recommend a plan to reduce the risk of a heart attack.

Because this test emits a low dose of radiation, a referral from your primary care provider is required. You may call your provider’s office or if you are a Prevea patient, you may message your health care provider requesting a referral (order) through the MyPrevea app.

If you are currently experiencing symptoms associated with a heart condition or if you are receiving care for heart disease, talk to your provider to determine if heart calcium scoring is appropriate for you.

Heart calcium scoring is available at Prevea Health for $100. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call:
Cardiac calcium scoring is reimbursement eligible with a flexible spending account (FSA) or health saving account (HSA) or a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA).

Marshall underwent surgery at HSHS St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay, undergoing a heart stent procedure. Dr. Todd Fergus, a board-certified and fellowship-trained interventional cardiologist, performed the procedure putting three stents in an area that had 95% blockage – all as a result of what was found during Marshall’s heart calcium score. 

“We tend to put things off, even symptoms and we think it’s no big deal or a part of aging. I could have very easily dropped over dead. I gave my daughter permission to use me as an example – for both my stubbornness in delaying the test and her persistence in making me get the test.”, said Marshall. “My daughter saved my life.”

Read Marshall's Story