The diagnostic testing methods that your doctor uses to test for cardiovascular disease is based on several factors including:
- Your risk factors
- Your medical history
- Your family medical history
- Your result from procedures and tests
- A physical exam
Types of Diagnotic Testing
There is no single definitive test for coronary heart disease. If your doctor thinks you may be suffering from the condition, he may suggest one or some of the following cardiac diagnostic tests:
This test, which is also known as an echo, uses sound waves to form a moving image of your heart. Through this, your doctor can see the shape and size of the organ. He can also determine how well your valves and heart chambers are working.
This test can also illustrate any prior injuries to your heart muscles that have been caused by insufficient blood flow. It can identify areas of heart muscle that aren’t contracting correctly, as well as areas where blood flow is poor.
This painless test records the electrical activity of your heart. Your doctor can determine whether your heart rhythm is normal, as well as how fast it’s beating. An EKG will also often show up signs of damage due to heart disease or a previous or current heart attack.
The goal of stress testing is to get your heart beating quickly while tests are carried out. You’ll either be asked to exercise or will given medication to make your heart beat faster. A hard-working heart needs more oxygen and blood. Heart arteries that are narrowed by plaque are unable to supply enough oxygen-rich blood to meet the needs of your heart.
A stress test shows up symptoms and signs of heart disease like:
- Abnormal changes in your heart’s electrical activity or heart rhythm
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Abnormal changes in your blood pressure or heart rate
During some stress tests, images of your heart are captured while you exercise and again while resting. These show how well your heart pumps blood as its beating and also how well your blood is flowing to your heart.
Chest X Ray
As you might imagine, a chest x ray can reveal signs of heart failure, along with other disorders.
Bloods are taken to test for levels of proteins, sugar, cholesterol and certain fats. They can also detect anemia, which is a risk factor for heart disease.
When you’re having a heart attack, cells in your heart die and release proteins into your blood. Blood tests measure the amounts of these, with high levels showing that you’ve recently experienced a heart attack.
Cardiac Catheterization and Coronary Angiography
If your doctor suspects you have heart disease, he may recommend a coronary angiography. Through cardiac catheterization, dye is put through your coronary arteries into your bloodstream. Special x-rays are then taken so doctors can study the flow of blood through your blood vessels and heart.
Other method of diagnostic testing for heart disease include electrophysiology, nuclear imaging testing, tilt table test, CT heart scan, myocardial biopsy, heart MRI, and pericardiocentesis.
To learn more about diagnostic tests for heart disease, contact us here at Tri-City Cardiology.