How Much Does a Coronary Calcium Scan Cost?

Written by: Staff

A coronary calcium scan, also referred to as a heart scan, scans the heart arteries to see whether or not there is calcium build-up that is posing a threat to your heart health.

Normally, when we hear the word “calcium,” we think of the nutrient that our body needs and think of it as a good thing.  However, in the heart, calcium refers to the build-up of calcium that can block the arteries in the coronary system.

How much does a coronary calcium scan cost?

On average, a coronary calcium scan can cost anywhere from $150 to $500 without health insurance.  Most scans, from what we researched, are done between $150 and $300 with additional perks thrown in, which may include treatment intervention, advice, and/or limited time access to a cardiac imaging specialist.  Depending on your insurance provider, they may cover it as a preventative test.

Harvard University says the insurance coverage for a coronary artery calcium scan varies widely, but the out-of-pocket costs tend to fall within the $100 to $200 range.

According to, the test will usually cost anywhere from $200 to $500.  They also claim that as with any screening test, Medicare and other insurance plans will not cover it.

Cedars Sinai charges $250 for a cardiac calcium scan, lipid panel, and same-day consultation.  If you do not want the same-day consultation, the price drops to $185.

Coronary calcium scan cost?

Depending on the pricing option, the test may include a heart scan that shows possible calcium deposits in the coronary region, a lipid panel, a consultation appointment with a cardiac imaging specialist, possible treatment options and/or advice on lifestyle changes.  The basic inclusions, at a minimum, will include the heart scan.

During the procedure, the chest will be applied with sticky patches with sensors, known as electrodes, and these sensors are connected to an EKG machine, which will record the heart’s electrical activity during the scan.  Lying on your back, the CT scanner will take pictures for short periods.  Depending on the circumstances, you may be offered a pill or injection to slow your heart to ensure clearer images and/or to help remain calm.  The procedure should not take any longer than 15 minutes.

This is a painless, non-invasive test that can be done in a doctor’s office.

The doctors will use this scan to tell how much calcium has been built up inside the heart’s arteries, and the amount of calcium can reflect the amount of plaque present.  The more calcium present, the higher your risk for a heart attack or stroke is.  The results, given as a number is known as an Agatston score, will represent a combination of information reflecting the total area of calcium deposits and the density of the calcium.  A score of zero means no calcium is present and indicates a lower possibility of a heart attack in the future, whereas a score greater than 300 indicates a very high chance of heart attack.

What are the extra costs?

Extra costs may include costs associated with the prior preparation for taking the coronary calcium scan.  These preparations may include risk assessment tests, other possible blood tests such as for cholesterol levels, physical examinations and medical history reviews.  Some of these preparatory tests have certain costs associated with them.  If they are not covered by insurance, you will be forced to pay from your own pocket.

If anything is found in the coronary calcium scan that requires further attention or treatment, this will not be included in the cost of the test. This could include changing your diet plan, quitting smoking and/or getting more exercise.  Your doctor, depending on the scores, may also prescribe medication to help lower your cholesterol and/or order additional lab tests such as a cholesterol test.

Tips to know:

You probably do not need a coronary calcium scan if you fall either in the low-risk group or high-risk group.  This criteria, developed by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, helps classify the risk levels of heart diseases.  The point is, your doctor is already aware of your heart health and a physical exam can often indicate information about your heart.  According to Mayo Clinic, “The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology do not recommend routine use of heart scans on people who do not have symptoms of heart disease and who do not smoke or have cardiac risk factors, such as elevated cholesterol or high blood pressure.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, heart scans will use x-ray technology, meaning you will be exposed to radiation during the exam.

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