CT Calcium Score

What is a CT Calcium Score?

Coronary calcium scans use a special X-ray test called computed tomography (CT) to check for the build-up of calcium in plaque on the walls of the arteries of the heart (coronary arteries). This test is used to check for heart disease in an early stage and to determine how severe it is.

Why do I need to have a CT Calcium Score?

A heart scan is generally considered useful for people who have a known moderate risk of heart disease or when the risk is uncertain. There are different tools for an initial risk assessment, but all of them use factors, such as your age, sex, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and tobacco use.

Because of the use of radiation for CT scans, CT heart scans are generally not recommended for the following people:

  • Men under age 40 and women under age 50, because detectable calcium at younger ages is not likely
  • People who have a low risk, because detectable calcium is highly unlikely, in the absence of family history of heart attacks at early age
  • People who already have a known high risk, because the heart scan will likely not provide any additional information to guide treatment decisions
  • People who already have symptoms or a diagnosis of heart disease, because the procedure would not help doctors better understand the disease progression or risk

Where is the CT Calcium Score performed?

At Ascot Radiology, Level One.

Will I feel anything during the CT Calcium Score?


  • CT scanners are shaped like a large doughnut.
  • You will be lying flat on a table that will move into the middle of the scanner just before the scan begins.
  • The table will move slowly through the scanner while the images are being taken.
  • You may be asked to hold your breath at certain points during the scan to avoid blurring the images.
  • Modern CT scanners are very advanced, so you may spend as little as 5 minutes on the CT table.

What happens after I’ve had my CT Calcium Score?

The results will be sent through to your Cardiologist, who will either ask to see you in follow-up or write you a letter.

What happens if the CT Calcium Score is very high?

The Cardiologist will request a follow-up appointment to discuss this with you.

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Ascot Hospital, Level 3
90 Greenlane East
Remuera, Auckland 1051
PO Box 17264,
Greenlane, Auckland 1546

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