What is Coronary Calcium Score


Coronary calcium is a marker for plaque (fatty deposits) in a blood vessel or Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). The presence and amount of calcium detected in a coronary artery by the Electron Beam Tomography (EBT) scan indicates the presence and amount of atherosclerotic plague.  These calcium deposits appear years before the development of heart disease symptoms such as chest pan and shortness of breath.

A calcium score is computed for each of the coronary arteries based upon the volume and density of the calcium deposits.  This can be referred to as your certified calcium burden.  It does not correspond directly to t he percentage of narrowing in the artery but does correlate with the severity of the underlying coronary atherosclerosis

The score is then used to determine the calcium percentile, which compares your calcified plaque burden to that of other asymptomatic men and women of the same age.  The calcium score, in combination with the percentile, enables the physician to determine your risk of developing symptomatic coronary artery disease and to measure the progression of the disease and the effectiveness of treatment.

A score of zero indicates that there is no calcified plaque burden.  This implies there is no significant artery narrowing and a very low likelihood of a cardiac event over at least the next 3 years.  It does absolutely not rule out the presence of soft, noon-calcified plaque or totally eliminate the possibility o a cardiac event.

A score greater than zero indicates at least some coronary artery disease. As the score increases, so does the likelihood of a significant coronary narrowing and the likelihood of a cardiac event over at least the next 3 years, compared to people with lower scores.  Similarly, the likelihood of a coronary event increases with increasing calcium percentiles.


High resolution, non-contrast, limited Electron Beam Tomography (EBT) images the coronary arteries and proximal great vessels. The procedure takes less than 5 minutes and the only requirement is no caffeine 4 hours prior to the test.

Arteries Tested:

1.      Left Main

2.      Left Anterior Descending -LAD (The Widow Maker)

3.      Left Circumflex Artery-LCX

4.      Right Coronary Artery-RCA