Step 4: Add some risk factors

For this step you will need:

  • your Agatston calcium score

  • your systolic blood pressure (the top number).

  • your total cholesterol

  • your HDL cholesterol

  • other information includes your race, age, gender, smoking history and family history.

  • if you don’t know your cholesterol, your HDL or your blood pressure numbers, you can bypass Step 4 and click on STEP 5.

When you have this information, click on the STEP 4 button, which will take you to the MESA (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis) Risk Calculator.

How to use the mesa risk calculator:

Fill in the information and click on the “CALCULATE RISK” button. Then, just under that button you’ll get 2 more numbers. The 1st number is your 10 year risk number (using the calcium score). The 2nd number is your calculated risk (based on your risk factors alone) without the calcium score. That’s the difference knowing your calcium score makes. Write down BOTH numbers and label the first one: MESA with calcium. Label the 2nd one: MESA without calcium

AFTER using the MESA calculator, CLOSE the MESA window to return to this page.

Then STEP 5 will help you put it all together.


  1. The MESA trial: Detrano R, et al, Coronary calcium as a predictor of coronary events in four racial or ethnic groups. N Engl J Med. 2008 Mar 27; 358(13):1336-45.

  2. The MESA trial showed that the heart calcium score “alone was better than all the other risk factors combined for risk prediction.” Sharma, et al, Cardiac risk stratification: Role of the coronary calcium score. Vasc Health Risk Manag. 2010; 6: 603–611. Published online 2010 Aug 9. PMCID: PMC2922321 PMID: 20730016