Coronary calcium scans use a special X-ray test called computed tomography (CT) to check for the buildup 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. Coronary calcium scans are also called cardiac calcium scoring.

The coronary arteries supply blood to the heart. Normally, the coronary arteries do not contain calcium.  Calcium in the coronary arteries is a sign of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD).

A CT scan takes pictures of the heart in thin sections.  The pictures are recorded in a computer and can be saved for more study or printed out as photographs.

To get a Coronary Calcium Scan in St. Louis, find a SLHV location near you and call to schedule an appointment.

Available at These Locations

Coronary Calcium Scan Q&A

How the Test Works

Using SLHV’s 64-slice CT scan, technologists will create a clear, two-dimensional view of the heart and arteries.  These images are analyzed for the presence of calcium within the arteries. Although the actual scan time is about 20 to 30 seconds, the whole process takes about 15 minutes.  For questions about the scan, call us at (314) 218-9656.

Patients Who Benefit

Anyone over the age of 20 can receive this test. Still, in particular, a coronary calcium score is recommended for men 30 and older or women 40 and older with at least one of these coronary risk factors:

  • Family history of heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • More than ideal body weight
  • Diabetes

Men 45 and older and women 55 and older without any of these risk factors should consider having the scan. People with diabetes who are 30 and older should also consider having the scan.

However, people who are pregnant, who already know they have heart disease, who weigh more than 300 pounds, or who are over 70 years of age may be recommended not to take the test. Talk to your doctor about your risk level.

The effective radiation dose from this procedure is equivalent to about 6 months of natural exposure to radiation in our atmosphere.

Coronary Calcium Scans in St. Louis are available at the SLHV office in Bridgeton at 3550 McKelvey Road.  Call us today at (314) 741-0911 to make an appointment!