Radiology Diagnostic

Heart CT Screening for Coronary Artery Calcification (CT Calcium Score)

Current guidelines recommend heart screening by CT scan for patients between 40-75 years old that have between 5 and 20% 10-year risk of ASCVD- atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (commonly known as heart disease) and there is uncertainty on the benefit of treating with medication to lower cholesterol.

Lloyd-Jones DM, Braun LT, Ndumele CE, Smith Jr SC, Sperling LS, Virani SS, Blumenthal RS, Use of Risk Assessment Tools to Guide Decision-Making in the Primary Prevention of Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease, Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2018) doi:

Emory Healthcare is committed to your heart and vascular health. Therefore, we're providing heart screenings in select patients, with a doctor's order for $100.

To determine your personal risk for heart disease you should discuss your lifestyle and overall health history with your doctor. The ACC/AHA ASCVD Risk Estimator Plus is a tool that will help your doctor determine your 10-year risk of heart disease considering the following factors:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Smoking History
  • Blood Pressure and any treatment for lowering blood pressure
  • Cholesterol Levels
  • Glucose Levels (history of diabetes)

Your calcium score (a measurement of hard plaque in the vessels of your heart) coupled with the overall risk assessment will guide a shared decision conversation between you and your doctor on a personalized prevention strategy.

According to the current guidelines: If you have no coronary calcium, you and your doctor can consider avoiding or postponing drug therapy taking into consideration your other contributing risk factors (personal smoking history, family history of heart disease, etc.). For scores between 1-99 AU and less than 75th percentile, you may consider medication therapy now or postpone drug treatment and repeat the CT calcium screening in 5 years in consultation with your physician. For all patients with a score ≥ 100 AU ≥ 75th percentile, drug treatment is recommended.

* Note that this test is for screening and primary prevention. CT Calcium Score is not recommended in patients who have prior placement of coronary stents or coronary artery bypass (CABG).