How are genetic tests for heart disease performed?

Genetic testing is not recommended to try to assess risk for coronary artery disease, the acquired adult form of heart disease that leads to heart attack. Your cardiologist can help you determine if you are a good candidate. Another developing areas in genetic testing is that of identifying patients who may not respond well to certain medications, such as antiplatelet drugs.

Before you have blood drawn and sent to a lab for genetic analysis, you will meet with a counselor or other medical professional who specializes in genetic testing. During this meeting, you will review your personal and family health histories. This meeting will help determine if, based on the condition you are seeking information about, you are a good candidate for a genetic test. You will also be advised of any limitations of the test.
The actual genetic test is like any other blood test. Having blood drawn typically only takes a few minutes. You will be asked to roll up your shirt sleeve (if necessary) and the medical professional who will be drawing the blood will swab the area where the needle will be inserted with an alcohol wipe. A rubber tube may be tied around the upper part of your arm, or you may be asked to make a fist, to make the veins stand out more and easier to access.
A needle attached to a small test tube will be inserted into your vein and blood will begin to flow into the tube. When a sample that is appropriate for the test has been gathered, the needle will be removed, and you may be asked to press on a piece of gauze placed over the insertion site. This pressure will help stop any bleeding from the tiny puncture site. A bandage will then be placed over the site where the needle was inserted.
Your blood sample will then be sent to lab technicians for analysis. You will receive information when you have the blood test as to when you can expect results.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.