There are multiple ways a doctor can test for coronary artery disease, including the symptoms that a patient presents with such as chest pain, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, pressure in the chest or arms, nausea, vomiting, neck pain, jaw pain, treadmill testing, stress echos, multiple perfusion imaging, CRP, CT scanning of the arteries of the heart to look at the calcium content, and CT angiography with contrast dye. In addition doctors will examine the carotid arteries with ultrasound to see if the patient is making plaque in the carotid arteries feeding the brain. If this is the case, it can help him be more aggressive in the search for coronary disease involving the heart. There are other tests that are more invasive such as cardiac catheterization to actually look at the plaque in the heart and intracoronary ultrasound, which actually allows us to see the plaque inside the artery with ultrasound.
This is important in order to try to stabilize the arteries and prevent the patient from having heart attack. Each test is an addition to the symptoms that the patient presents with and the evaluation will include multiple tests to give the doctor the best picture of whether the patient actually as coronary disease.