Calcium Scoring Test Offered to Help Determine Risk for Heart Disease

October 02, 2012

WILMINGTON – New Hanover Regional Medical Center is offering a low-cost way to look inside your arteries. A calcium scoring study detects the build-up of calcified plaque in the coronary arteries. Calcified plaque can narrow the arteries and increase the risk of heart attack. It is an early sign of coronary artery disease which can be detected before the beginning of symptoms.

“The early detection and treatment of coronary artery disease is the best defense against it,” said radiologist Pat Warren, MD. “If you are aware of your risk, you can start making changes to reverse it.”

The study involves using a non-invasive 64-slice CT scan. It creates a highly detailed image of the heart. Radiologists read the image and score each one based on the amount of calcified plaque seen in the coronary arteries. The results are sent to the referring physician so they can discuss the results with the patient and develop a treatment plan if necessary.

A cardiac calcium scoring study is not covered by insurance or Medicare. NHRMC is making it available for a $100 fee. A physician referral is required. For more information, visit