To determine if you have coronary calcification, your doctor will review your family and personal medical history, perform a physical exam and review the results of your blood tests. Other tests that your doctor may use to make a diagnosis include:
- Coronary Calcium Score is a simple screening test that uses a low radiation CT (computed tomography) scan without any injected dye (contrast material) to find plaque in the arteries supplying blood to the heart. The higher the calcium score, the higher the risk of angina, heart attack or other problems.
- Coronary CT angiography is a non-invasive test that is used to assess a person’s blood flow. During this test, dye (contrast material) is injected into the blood vessels and a CT (computed tomography) scan is used to take pictures of the blood as it flows to the heart.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) is a simple non-invasive test that can be done in the doctor’s office using small adhesive pads called electrodes that are placed on the arms, legs and chest. These electrodes are connected to a machine that detects and prints out the heart's electrical impulses, giving a 10-second snapshot of what the heart is doing right at that moment. It can also reveal signs of a past or recent heart attack.
- Stress testing is used to determine the heart’s response to exercise or times when adrenaline levels are higher. Typically, this test is performed while you’re walking on a treadmill. If you are unable to walk, however, a chemical stress test can be substituted. There are different kinds of stress tests. A nuclear stress test involves getting an injection of a mildly radioactive isotope which increases the accuracy of the test. A stress echocardiogram involves getting an ultrasound before and after the stress test.