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Cardiac Calcium Score - Benefits and Risks


  • Cardiac calcium scoring is a noninvasive way of evaluating whether you may be at increased risk of a heart attack.
  • The cardiac calcium scoring scan takes little time, causes no pain, and does not require injection of contrast material.
  • No radiation remains in a patient’s body after a cardiac calcium scoring scan.
  • X-rays used in standard CT scans have no immediate side effects.


  • There is always a slight chance of cancer from excessive exposure to radiation. However, the benefit of an accurate diagnosis will generally outweigh the risk.
  • The effective radiation dose for this procedure varies. (add alara comment…)
  • Women should always inform their radiologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.
  • A high calcium score may sometimes be followed by other diagnostic tests for heart disease, which may or may not provide results with clinical value and can be associated with side effects.