Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I be screened, I'm healthy?

In about 50 percent of cases, the first symptom of heart disease is a heart attack or sudden death. Relying solely on risk factors misses many individuals who are at risk. In fact, a study found that 77 percent of individuals who suffered a heart attack had normal LDL cholesterol levels. 32 percent of women with apparently low risk factors have calcium in their coronary arteries, increasing their risk of heart disease. There is therapy available to slow or even halt progression of coronary artery disease, if detected early.


How much do these tests cost? Are they covered by insurance?

These scans are usually not covered by insurance. The coronary calcium scan is $225. Results will be reviewed with your own doctor or, for an additional $100, you can review the results of your scan with an imaging cardiologist. The cost of the carotid artery intima-media thickness scan is $250.


Can I refer myself for these studies?

Yes, you can self-refer. No physician prescription is required. Call 310-423-8000 to schedule an appointment. You will have to provide the name of a physician who will discuss the results with you and who will provide any necessary treatment recommendations.


Where will the studies be performed?

Coronary calcium scans are performed at the S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center. Find more information on directions and parking.

Carotid artery intima-media thickness (CIMT) studies are performed on the 5th floor of the South Tower. Please check in at the 5th Floor, South Tower Lobby, 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment time.


When can study be performed?

CIMT and Coronary Calcium Scans are offered Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.


How long will the study take?

The coronary calcium scan takes about 10 minutes and the CIMT study takes about 20 minutes.


How do I prepare for these studies?

There are no preparations for either study.


Are there any injections before or during a coronary calcium scan or a CIMT?

Neither study involves any injections.


Will someone go over the results with me after the study?

Usually, the results are reviewed with your doctor although a cardiologist imaging specialist can be available to go over the results of your coronary calcium scan and discuss what it means for you for an additional charge ($100). You can go over the results of your CIMT test with your personal physician or we can refer you to a cardiologist at the Heart Institute.


What can I do with the results?

If your study shows plaque buildup in the arteries supplying your heart, diet changes, exercise and, if necessary, medications may significantly reduce your risk of a heart attack. The earlier such plaque is detected, the more effective intervention in the form of dietary changes, increased exercise and medications will be.