A coronary artery calcium score is the measurement of calcium in the walls of the arteries that supply the heart muscle. It is measured by taking a computed tomography (CT) scan of the heart. 

The scan shows the amount of hardening of the artery wall. The results of the scan make it possible to estimate the risk of a heart attack or stroke in the next five to ten years. The more calcium there is, the higher the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Your doctor will use the coronary artery calcium score to decide whether you are at low, normal or high risk and, if necessary, guide you to reduce your risk.

It is usually requested as you have some pre-disposing factors such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Family history of heart disease
  • Left ventricular hypertrophy
  • A long-term history of smoking


This type of scan is a ‘screening’ test. That is a test you have when you do not have any signs or symptoms of any illness. Screening tests give information about whether a healthy person may have an illness or an increased chance of developing a potentially serious illness.

You will be escorted into the CT examination room.

ECG leads will be placed onto your chest to allow monitoring of  your heart rate during the examination.

You will lie on a table which is slowly moved into the doughnut shaped CT unit. Scanning will take place at a time where optimal visualisation of your heart can be achieved during the short resting heart-rate phase in each heartbeat. You will be asked to “breathe in, breathe out, breathe back in and hold your breath” throughout the scan.

On the day of your examination, you will be advised to avoid smoking, exercising, eating chocolate or drinking caffeine.  This is important as it allows you have the lowest possible heart rate during the scans.

Please advise the imaging technologist if you are, or think you may be pregnant.

Please remove any jewellery from the head and neck area.

For your comfort during the examination, we recommended that you wear loose fitting clothing without metal buttons, buckles, fasteners or zippers, as metal objects interfere with the images. A gown will be provided if clothing needs to be removed.

  •  Your original referral or request form
  • Medicare and any Government concession, pension or health care cards
  • Previous relevant rest results

You will receive a low dose of x-ray radiation.

Please allow up to 1 hour.

Please note that if your heart rate is too high or erratic at the time of appointment, we may need to ask you to return later to acquire the most optimal imaging of your heart.

CT Calcium Scoring is available at the following locations: