Calcium scanning, more properly called coronary calcium scanning, uses CT imaging to detect the presence of coronary artery disease. The tests detect a build-up of calcium within the arteries; if these are present this indicates that atherosclerotic plaques are forming, and that you are at an increased risk of developing angina or having a heart attack. If a coronary calcium scan shows calcifications are present, you will then need a coronary angiogram to see how extensive the plaques have become.
What does calcium scanning involve?
A calcium scan is a very quick procedure that takes 10-15 minutes. You will lie on your back inside the CT scanner and no drugs or special preparation is required. As soon as the test is over you can get up and wait for your follow-up consultation to discuss the results.
Why would I need calcium scanning?
A calcium scan is a useful screening test that is used to assess your risk of developing coronary artery disease over the next ten years or so. If the test shows no calcium deposits, this is an indication that your coronary arteries are healthy. If calcifications are detected, a follow-up coronary angiogram may be required, and you may need to change your lifestyle or have treatment to reduce your risk.