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How is heart disease diagnosed?

In addition to regular checkups, your health care team may do one or more special tests to check the condition of your heart and blood vessels. The tests to diagnose heart disease are:

  • An electrocardiogram, also called an ECG or EKG, provides information on heart rate and rhythm and shows if there has been damage or injury to the heart muscle.
  • An echocardiogram uses sound waves (ultrasound) to produce images of the heart and blood vessels on a screen. It tells your doctor if your heart is pumping blood correctly.
  • An exercise stress test, or a treadmill test, uses an ECG to measure how your heart works while you walk on a moving treadmill.
  • An exercise perfusion test, or a stress nuclear perfusion test, uses small amounts of radioactive material to produce images of blood flow to the heart as you exercise.
  • A medication stress test uses medicine instead of exercise to increase your heart rate.
  • A stress echocardiogram uses ultrasound and either exercise or medication to provide images of the heart and blood vessels.
  • Cardiac catheterization is used with other tests. A small tube, the catheter, is inserted into an artery and guided into the blood vessels of the heart.
  • A coronary angiogram, orarteriogram, is a test in which dye is injected into the blood vessels using a catheter and X-rays are taken. It shows if arteries are narrowed or blocked.
  • A chest X-ray shows the size and shape of the heart and can also show congestion in the lungs.

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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.