After your heart scan is finished, your doctor will share the results with you. If you'd like a copy of your scan, ask your doctor, since copies aren't routinely given. If your coronary calcium score is high, that may mean you need more aggressive treatment of your heart attack risk factors, such as medications or lifestyle changes. Your doctor may also recommend more-invasive tests, such as coronary angiography, based on your scan results.

The theory behind using heart scans is that the more calcification you have, the worse your heart disease. But even having very small amounts of calcium might indicate that you could go on to develop heart disease unless you take aggressive measures to stop it, such as eating a healthier diet, reducing your cholesterol and quitting smoking.

On the other hand, having calcium in your coronary arteries may not necessarily mean that you'll develop coronary artery disease or have a heart attack. Even so, if your scan indicates you have calcium, you might get unnecessary and invasive tests, such as coronary angiography, that could cause you to worry needlessly about your health.

The flip side is also true: If a heart scan shows your arteries are free of calcium, it doesn't necessarily mean you don't have any plaques. Plaque develops calcium only as it matures. The older you get without detectable calcium, the lower your risk of a heart attack or developing coronary artery disease.

May. 01, 2013