Coronary calcium scans have very few risks. The test isn't invasive, which means that no surgery is done and no instruments are inserted into your body.
Unlike some CT scans, coronary calcium scans don't require an injection of contrast dye to make your heart or arteries visible on x-ray images.
Coronary calcium scans involve radiation, although the amount used is considered small. Electron beam computed tomography (EBCT) uses less radiation than multidetector computed tomography (MDCT).
In either case, the amount of radiation is about equal to the amount of radiation you're naturally exposed to in a single year.
The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.