What is a Calcium Score?
The amount of calcium detected in the coronary arteries is referred to as your calcium score, which is the most accurate predictor of a future heart attack. The calcium score (think of it as a plaque score) is calculated by a complex formula for each piece of calcium in every piece of each coronary artery. A normal score is zero, which means your chance of having a heart attack in the next 10 years is very low. The higher your calcium score, the higher your heart attack risk, unless you modify your risk factors with vigorous lifestyle changes and sometimes medications.
Calcium scores detected with an Electron Beam Computed Tomography (EBCT) scanner are much more reliable than those detected with a multi-slice CT scanner, especially scores less than 200. Numerous scientific studies show that coronary calcium is the best predictor of a heart attack risk, and more predictive than all the traditional risk factors combined.