Calcium Scoring Program

Simple X-Ray Test Can Predict Your Future Risk of Heart Attack

University Hospitals Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute offers an X-ray test called cardiac CT imaging for coronary artery calcium scoring.

This test has been shown by many studies in medical literature to predict future risk of heart attack. Done without an intravenous line or the use of any X-ray contrast material, the scan is a simple X-ray procedure that takes between five and ten minutes to complete.

It measures the amount of calcium that has accumulated in the walls of the coronary arteries and provides your physician with what is termed a “coronary artery calcium score.”

What Does Your Score Mean?

A score of zero means that no calcium is seen. This finding is associated with a very low risk (less than 1 percent) of a heart attack over the next 10 years.

As the amount of calcium detected increases, the risk of heart attack increases in the following manner:

Calcium score 10-year risk for heart attack Risk interpretation
0 <1% Very low
1-99 4% Low
100-399 13% Moderate
400 or greater 24% High

When a calcium score is 1-99 or 100-399, this means that some hardening of the arteries is present, and will indicate how intensively prevention strategies should work to control your modifiable heart disease risk factors.

When a calcium score is found to be 400 or greater, this is a warning that extensive hardening of the arteries is present and aggressive prevention strategies should be used.

Who Should Get Tested?

We recommend this test for men age 45 or older and women age 55 or older, with no history of coronary artery disease, and with one or more risk factors for heart disease, including:

We also recommend this test for men and women age 40 or older who are diagnosed with a chronic inflammatory condition (e.g., inflammatory bowel disease, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriasis).

Testing at a younger age may be indicated in certain situations. Please consult your physician for further recommendations.

Calcium Scoring at UH

In the past, despite the availability, very few patients had the test done, as it is generally not covered by insurance and quite costly. UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute is pleased to now offer this test to you at no cost. You or your doctor simply needs to call 216-844-1700 (Radiology Patient Access) to arrange for the test. A physician order is required to schedule.

We welcome the opportunity to work with you and your doctor to prevent a heart attack from happening.

Our Preventive Cardiology Program is actively involved in research to reduce the risk of heart attack. A representative from our program may contact you to discuss opportunities to participate in our clinical or research programs. Your participation will be completely voluntary.

Day of the Test

  • Avoid caffeine and tobacco products the morning of the test
  • The test will take approximately 20 to 30 minutes total; the actual CT scan is about five to ten minutes.
  • Wear comfortable clothing


UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute offers this test at no cost.


  • A copy of the report will be sent to your primary care or referring doctor.
  • After you have received your results, please call 216-844-3800 if you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our cardiovascular specialists.

Make an Appointment

Schedule your appointment with a heart or vascular specialist at University Hospitals:

Office appointment with a cardiologist or vascular surgeon
216-844-3800 or
1-866-UH4-CARE (1-866-844-2273)

Office appointment with a heart surgeon

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