No-Cost Cardiac Calcium Scoring
University Hospitals Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute offers a test called cardiac CT imaging for coronary artery calcium scoring. In the past, despite the availability, few patients had the test done, as it is generally not covered by insurance and quite costly. However, UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute offers this test to you at no cost.
What is a Calcium Score Test?
- This test is used to determine your future risk of heart attack.
- A calcium score test is a noninvasive, low dose CT scan, performed without an intravenous line or any contrast material.
- The appointment takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes, with the actual CT scan about 10 to 15 minutes of that time.
- Coronary calcium scoring involves a small portion of radiation, similar to or lower than that used in other screenings.
- The test measures the amount of calcium that has accumulated in the walls of the coronary arteries and provides what is termed a “coronary artery calcium score” to help interpret your risk level.
Who Should Get Tested?
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:
- High blood cholesterol
- Low HDL cholesterol (“good cholesterol”)
- High blood pressure
- Cigarette smoking
- Type 2 diabetes
- Family history of heart disease at age 55 or younger in men and 65 or younger in women
Others eligible for the test include 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.
What Do My Test Results Mean?
A score of zero means that no calcium is seen. That 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 also increases.
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 be used 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.
|Calcium score||10-year risk for heart attack||Risk interpretation|
|400 or greater||24%||High|
Depending on your results, consider scheduling an appointment with one of our cardiovascular specialists for related medical needs or treatment.
Do You Have an Order?
In order to receive a no cost calcium score test you must have an order from a physician.
Yes, I have an order
If you have an order for a calcium test, you or your doctor can call, 216-844-1700, to schedule an appointment with radiology. Once the test is complete, radiology will send the results back to your referring provider to read, provide your test results and discuss next steps.
No, I do not have an order
If you do not have an order for a calcium test, contact your primary care provider to discuss if this test is right for you, and request an order. Once you have an order, call 216-844-1700 to schedule an appointment with radiology.
Don't Have a Primary Care Provider?
What to Expect
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 10 to 15 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.