The tests you’ll need to diagnose your heart disease depend on what condition your doctor thinks you might have. No matter
what type of heart disease you have, your doctor will likely perform a physical
exam and ask about your personal and family medical history before doing any
tests. Besides blood tests and a chest X-ray, tests to diagnose heart disease
(ECG). An ECG records these electrical signals and can help your doctor
detect irregularities in your heart’s rhythm and structure. You may have
an ECG while you’re at rest or while exercising (stress
monitoring: A Holter monitor is a portable device you wear to record a
continuous ECG, usually for 24 to 72 hours. Holter monitoring is used to
detect heart rhythm irregularities that aren’t found during a regular ECG
This noninvasive exam, which includes an ultrasound of your chest, shows
detailed images of your heart’s structure and function.
- Stress test: This type of test
involves raising your heart rate with exercise or medicine while
performing heart tests and imaging to check how your heart responds.
catheterization: In this test, a short tube (sheath) is inserted into a
vein or artery in your leg (groin) or arm. A hollow, flexible and longer
tube (guide catheter) is then inserted into the sheath. Aided by X-ray
images on a monitor, your doctor threads the guide catheter through that
artery until it reaches your heart.
pressures in your heart chambers can be measured, and dye can be injected.
The dye can be seen on an X-ray, which helps your doctor see the blood
flow through your heart, blood vessels, and valves to check for
computerized tomography (CT) scan: This test is often used to check for
heart problems. In a cardiac CT scan, you lie on a table inside a
doughnut-shaped machine. An X-ray tube inside the machine rotates around
your body and collects images of your heart and chest.
- Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging
(MRI): For this test, you lie on a table inside a long tube-like machine
that produces a magnetic field. The magnetic field produces pictures to
help your doctor evaluate your