Calcium score scan

Find out your heart disease risk with a quick, painless calcium score scan, available at convenient Montage Health locations in Monterey. This test looks for buildup of calcium and plaque (fat) in blood vessels to the heart — a sign of coronary artery disease. Your results can either give you peace of mind or detect the condition early, when treatment works best.

Should I get a calcium score test?

Ask your doctor for a referral for this scan if you’re a man over 45 or woman over 55 who meets at least one of these criteria:

  • You have diabetes
  • You have an LDL (“bad”) cholesterol level over 160
  • You have HDL (“good”) cholesterol level of less than 40 for a man or less than 50 for a woman
  • You have high blood pressure (reading of at least 140/90) or take blood pressure medication
  • You smoke
  • You’re obese (have a body mass index, or BMI, of at least 30)
  • You have a male relative who developed heart disease before age 55 or a female relative who developed heart disease before age 60

Your doctor may also recommend a coronary calcium scan if you had a stress test that didn’t give clear results.

What to expect

A technician will attach sticky patches with electrodes to your chest to record your heart’s electrical signals. Then, you’ll lie on a table that moves into a computed tomography (CT) scanner. The machine will take detailed images over just a few minutes. A radiologist (imaging specialist) will review the pictures to determine your coronary artery calcium (CAC) score, also called an Agatston score.

Understanding your score

Expect a score in the range of zero to over 400. A score of zero means there’s no sign you have coronary artery disease. A score of more than 400 suggests you have severe coronary artery disease. You’ll also learn how much plaque is in your arteries compared to the average person of your age and sex.

Your doctor will review the results with you and, if needed, recommend follow-up care. You may benefit from healthy lifestyle changes or additional cardiac testing.

Cost and insurance coverage

Your insurance plan may cover a CT calcium score test if you have risk factors for heart disease. Ask your insurance provider for more information.

Without insurance coverage, your cost for the test is $189.

How to make an appointment

You’ll need a referral from your doctor or a cardiologist to get care at Tyler Heart Institute. Talk to your primary care provider, search for a cardiologist, or contact us at (831) 625-4934.

Getting test results

If you have an online MyChart account, you’ll likely see your test results in the patient portal within 24 hours. Your doctor will call to explain them and discuss next steps. Wait until you talk to your doctor before trying to understand what they mean.

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