Coronary artery disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the developed world. Effective means of treatment such as drug therapy to lower cholesterol levels are available, but clinical application to patients at highest risk remains imprecise. Electron beam computed tomography (EBCT) has been suggested as a means to diagnose subclinical coronary disease and facilitate risk stratification, but no current interpretive consensus exists in clinical practice. We critically reviewed current, pertinent literature regarding EBCT coronary calcium scanning from a clinical perspective and, in particular, studies that evaluated it as a measure of atherosclerotic coronary disease.