A simple, inexpensive heart imaging procedure that gives you details about your heart’s health.
What it is
Commonly called a heart scan, a cardiac calcium score is a noninvasive X-ray technology with a computed tomography (CT) scanner to determine the amount of calcium (plaque) that is in the arteries of your heart. Calcium build-up is a sign of coronary artery disease.
Often, the first sign of heart disease is a heart attack. Unlike standard stress tests that can't detect calcium deposits until artery narrowing is at least 50 percent, HeartScan Minnesota gives you an inside view of your heart's health complete with a personalized calcium score.
Good to know
The scan gives you a number called an Agatston score. Zero means the test didn’t find any calcium. The higher the number, the more important it is for you and your doctor to come up with a plan to protect your heart.
Your doctor may get your results the same day of the test, but it can take longer.
The amount of radiation emitted by this CT scan is very low - about the same as a mammogram or a chest x-ray.
Billing and insurance
The cost is $100 paid at the time of your appointment. You will receive a receipt at the time of your payment. Typically, this cost is reimbursable through a flexible health spending account or an HSA (Health Savings Account).
What to expect
Before your heart scan you will fill out a health questionnaire. During the test itself, you will lie down on the scanner bed and will be asked to hold your breath while the scanner takes two images of your heart. Each scan takes 10 to 45 seconds.
Every scan is analyzed and read by a cardiovascular imaging specialist for an in-depth and thorough interpretation. You will be mailed a comprehensive report of the scan results.
With your permission, we will forward your report to your primary care provider. We strongly encourage you to review the report with your physician and develop a plan to ensure your heart's health.
Good for treating
Anyone older than 35, with one or more of these risk factors for heart disease is encouraged to call for an appointment.
- family history of heart disease
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol
Source: Allina Health Medical Imaging and Minneapolis Heart Institute
First published: 2/6/2020
Last reviewed: 2/6/2020