The coronary artery calcium score is a measurement of the amount of calcium in the wall of the coronary arteries. It is a reflection of the build-up of plaque or atherosclerosis, and tells you your risk of heart attack in the next five to ten years.
Over time, inflamed deposits in the walls of the coronary artery accumulate calcium, and it is this calcium that the coronary artery calcium score measures. The more calcium (and therefore the more atherosclerosis) you have the higher the risk that you may have a heart attack.
Coronary artery calcium score is performed with a CT scanner and is completed under 5 minutes. The examination is painless and there is no injection of intravenous contrast required. The coronary artery calcium score is also done as part of a more comprehensive examination, the CT coronary angiogram.