skip to main content
RadInfo Logo Home

Asymptomatic Patient at Risk for Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary atherosclerotic disease (CAD) is caused by the buildup of cholesterol plaques in the walls of coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart. CAD can lead to myocardial infarction (heart attack) and other cardiac events. A person with CAD may be asymptomatic (ie, not have any symptoms). An early diagnosis and treatment of CAD before a person has symptoms can reduce heart attacks and deaths.

Doctors can use a variety of factors to determine a person’s risk for CAD. These include family history, physical examination, blood tests, lifestyles, and risk calculators. These risk assessments are based on the average of a lot of people. Based on level of risk, imaging tests can look for coronary artery calcium. Coronary artery calcium is found in plaques in the walls of arteries. It is a strong indicator of CAD for an individual. It can be used to help develop a treatment plan to reduce the risk of a cardiac event.

For asymptomatic individuals with a low risk of CAD, imaging tests are usually not recommended.

For asymptomatic patients with intermediate risk for CAD, CT coronary calcium (detects calcium deposits in the coronary arteries of the heart) is usually appropriate. CT angiography coronary arteries with intravenous (IV) contrast (CT scan of arteries using IV contrast) may be appropriate.

For asymptomatic individuals with high risk for CAD, CT coronary calcium and CT angiography of coronary arteries with IV contrast may be appropriate.

This page was reviewed on December 15, 2021

Sponsored By

Please note is not a medical facility. Please contact your physician with specific medical questions or for a referral to a radiologist or other physician. To locate a medical imaging or radiation oncology provider in your community, you can search the ACR-accredited facilities database.

This website does not provide cost information. The costs for specific medical imaging tests, treatments and procedures may vary by geographic region. Discuss the fees associated with your prescribed procedure with your doctor, the medical facility staff and/or your insurance provider to get a better understanding of the possible charges you will incur.

Web page review process: This Web page is reviewed regularly by a physician with expertise in the medical area presented and is further reviewed by committees from the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) and the American College of Radiology (ACR), comprising physicians with expertise in several radiologic areas.

Outside links: For the convenience of our users, provides links to relevant websites., RSNA and ACR are not responsible for the content contained on the web pages found at these links.