CT Coronary Angiogram and Calcium Score

CT Coronary Angiogram and Calcium Score

CT Coronary Angiogram is a non-invasive procedure that involves the use of CT (Computer Tomography; a high-resolution x-ray scan) to create images of the heart and the arteries. This can help the doctor identify and determine the presence of any plaque buildup caused by calcium or cholesterol deposits. It is done by injecting a safe X-ray dye, which makes the arteries appear clearer on the screen while the x-ray images are being created. The process takes up to 1-2 hours, with reports and results coming in the next day itself.
CT Coronary Angiogram and Calcium Score
If calcium deposits are found through the scan, further testing is done to determine the amount of calcium buildup there is, which is known as a Calcium Score test. The calcium score gives a quantifiable reading of the amount of calcium buildup in the arteries, hence providing a detailed idea of the kind of treatment needed for the condition, as well as the severity of the case.
CT Coronary Angiogram and Calcium Score


  1. Is the X-ray dye (contrast) completely safe?
    • X-ray contrast is overall very safe. The 2 main concern when it comes to contrast safety is allergy and kidney disease. Subjects who have previous history of severe allergy, brittle asthma and seafood allergy should inform the cardiologist and radiologist who is supervising the test. Preventive antihistamine is often given to negate such side effects.
      Since the X-ray dye is cleared from our body through the kidneys, patients with very poor kidney function may suffer from contrast induced kidney trouble. This is especially true in people with diabetes. Certain drugs like metformin should also be withheld for 24 hours prior to CT Angiogram.
  1. My CT scan came back showing a 25 to 50% blockage of my heart artery. I felt absolutely fine but now I am really worried. What should I do?
    • Just like we have the odd age spot and wrinkle when we cumulate the mileage, some degree of narrowing of our blood vessels is almost inevitable later on in life. Mild degree of vessel narrowing serve as warning sign for us to be more careful with our lifestyle. Regular exercise, healthy diet and a preventative medication to lower our cholesterol is often all that is needed.
  2. What is the difference between a coronary angiogram and a CT coronary angiogram?
    • The former is a more invasive procedure involving putting a soft catheter inside our body to inject contrast directly into the heart vessels. CT angiogram is non-invasive and therefore a safer procedure.
    • Angiogram is more precise in the quantification of artery narrowing compared to CT. CT angiogram also have very limited role in subjects with heavy calcium deposits.
    • If the CT angiogram is very abnormal, the patient is often referred for an angiogram as a prelude to more detailed therapy.



Heart Investigations

Our Cardiologist

Dr. Paul Ong

Senior Consultant Cardiologist

BA (Cambridge)
MB BChir (Cambridge)
MA (Cambridge)
CCST Cardiology (UK)
FRCP (London)
FESC (Europe)

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