What’s a heart CT scan?
A CT scan uses special X-ray equipment to look at your heart and take pictures of your coronary arteries, which supply blood to your heart. The scan can detect and measure calcium-containing plaque deposits in your arteries that can restrict blood flow (atherosclerosis) or block your arteries (coronary artery disease). Your scan results can help your doctor see if you have an increased risk of heart attack.
Do I need a heart scan?
Ask your doctor if you should have a heart CT scan, also called a coronary calcium scan. Heart disease screening may be right for you if you are:
- Thirty to 45 years old and have two or more heart disease risk factors
- Older than age 45 with at least one heart disease risk factor
Heart disease risk factors
Your heart disease risk factors include:
- Family history of heart disease
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Inactive lifestyle
What to expect
During the screening, you’ll lie on the CT scanner bed, which moves your body slowly into the scanner. Your head will remain outside the scanner. The scan takes hundreds of computerized heart images. The test is painless and only takes 10 to 15 minutes.
A radiologist will look at your heart images before you leave. You’ll receive preliminary results along with heart disease risk factor information and a CD containing your heart images. Your primary care provider also receives your results, including your cardiac calcium score.
If you have questions about your heart scan, follow up with your primary care doctor. Talk to your doctor about whether you should consider lifestyle changes or treatment based on your results.
Accessible, low-cost heart disease screening
Get a high-quality heart disease screening for $45 at:
The cost of your screening may be an eligible flexible spending account expense.