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Computed Tomography Heart (Calcium Screening)

Computed tomography (CT) is an advanced imaging system that uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to produce comprehensive images of your heart. This exam is designed to measure the amount of calcified, or hard, plaque in the small arteries that supply the heart. This “calcium score” is extensively studied and can be used to help determine your specific risk for a future heart attack.


  • Avoid all caffeine products (e.g., coffee, tea, chocolate, Excedrin, decaf coffee, decaf tea) in the 24 hours before your test.
  • Take all prescribed medications as directed
  • Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment to allow enough time to check in with reception.
  • Bring photo identification and your provincial health card.
  • Wear comfortable clothes.
  • Please do not bring children who require supervision.


  • You may be asked to change into scrubs.
  • You will be asked to lie on your back on the bed of the CT scanner, which will then be adjusted for correct placement.
  • Your technologist will place electrocardiograph (EKG) patches on your chest and arms to watch your heart rate.
  • Your technologist will leave the room to begin your exam, but you will be in direct communication throughout your procedure.
  • You will be asked to hold your breath (for 10-15 seconds) to help obtain specific images.
  • At the end of your exam, your technologist will help you off the bed and guide you back to your change room. You are then free to leave.


We do our best to have our radiologists interpret the information and forward the results to your doctor in a timely manner.


In Calgary, CT exams are provided at our Mayfair Place location as private pay exams and are not covered by Alberta Health Care. Prices are per body area. If additional body areas are scheduled within the same appointment, discounts apply. For example, the abdomen is one body area, while the spine is divided into three body areas. We also offer Health Assessment packages.

We offer a 10% Seniors discount (65+) that can be applied to the total CT exam.

Your health spending account or group medical insurance plan may cover the cost of a private CT that is prescribed by a qualified health care practitioner. You will need to check with your plan administrator for coverage details.

Please note that if contrast is needed, it’s an additional cost of $125.


Please ensure that you bring your requisition with you to your appointment.


25 minutes

Do I need a doctor's referral?
Yes, all diagnostic and preventative screening CT exams (including those part of Mayfair's Health Assessment packages) require a referral from your health care provider. You can download a referral form on our website.
Is a preventative screening CT scan right for me?
Most physicians endorse routine screening beginning at age 50. Screening should begin earlier (usually at age 40) for patients with one or more risk factors: a family history of colon cancer or heart disease; a history of diabetes; high cholesterol or high blood pressure; an inactive lifestyle; weight problems; or concerns about abdominal disease, pelvic disease or osteoporosis, etc.
Are there size or weight restrictions?
Mayfair's wide-bore CT scanners offer a more comfortable imaging experience, especially for larger patients or those who are prone to anxiety in tight spaces. Feet first scanning capacity, flexible design configurations, and padding provide optimal patient comfort. If you're nervous about sizing, measure your body at the widest point (usually across your abdomen or from shoulder to shoulder) and if the measurement is less than 70 centimetres, you should fit. If you are claustrophobic, you can come in for a fitting at NO charge to make sure you will be comfortable during the exam. Patients whose weight exceeds 226 kilograms (500 lbs) may be unable to have a CT scan.
Are there any risks?
The exposure to radiation from a CT scan is higher than that of standard X-rays, but the associated risk is still small. For example, the radiation exposure from one low-dose CT scan of the abdomen is similar to the exposure from the earth's natural background radiation over six months. In most cases, the benefits of a CT, such as the early detection of a serious illness, outweigh the small increased risk from radiation exposure. If your CT exam requires intravenous contrast, there is a small risk of allergic reaction to the contrast agent. Diabetes, asthma, heart disease, kidney problems, or thyroid conditions also increase your risk of a reaction to contrast.