The Case Against Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring

Paper Title: The Case Against Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring for Cardiovascular Disease Risk Assessment

Open Access link at American Family Physician Journal

Co-author: Andrew Foy, MD Penn State University


It seems like a great idea. You can scan the chest and measure the amount of calcium in the coronary arteries.

Knowing how much hardening of the arteries has to be a good thing.

Indeed, medical doctors, societies and patients alike have embraced CAC measurement.

We do not think so. We think there is more harm than good. We think the incremental knowledge over basic measures like age, presence of risk factors and cholesterol management is minimal.

This essay lays out the case for not doing a CAC scan.

Here is our concluding sentence:

Atherosclerosis is a complex lifelong disease, and wrongly simplifying it with coronary artery calcium testing helps the testers more than the tested.