A heart scan is a very useful way to individualize a patient’s care in my patient population. The heart scan and coronary calcium score are terms used interchangeably. It allows me to see the burden of plaque in the coronary arteries and helps determine risk along with other testing. One thing I like about heart scans is that often it is the first wake-up call for a patient. This leads to a further workup and can go a long way in preventing cardiovascular events. How to Interpret a Heart Scan/Calcium Score By definition having a positive coronary calcium score means that you have coronary artery disease. However, the amount matters, especially over 400. Calcium scoring has been found to be more accurate at predicting risk than blood tests. A heart scan tells you how much calcified plaque you have as well as which arteries are affected. Risk increases as the calcium score gets higher but there’s a catch. It’s the rate of progression that matters more. A rate of progression greater than 15% is too high. There is another catch that makes understanding calcium scoring hard. In some cases the healing process leads to more calcification. This is not always...