What tests determine coronary artery bypass graft candidacy?

To determine if you're a candidate for CABG, your doctor will do a physical exam that involves checking your cardiovascular system, focusing on heart, lungs, and pulse. Your doctor also will ask you about any symptoms you have, such as chest pain or shortness of breath, and how long, how often, and how severe they are.
Medical tests will be done to find out which arteries are clogged, how much they're clogged, and whether there's any heart damage. Tests may include:

  • EKG (electrocardiogram). An EKG is a simple test that detects and records the electrical activity of the heart. This test is used to help detect and locate the source of heart problems. An EKG shows how fast the heart is beating, whether the heart's rhythm is steady or irregular, where in the heart the electrical activity starts, and whether the electrical activity is traveling through the heart in a normal way.
  • Stress test. Some heart problems are easier to diagnose when your heart is working harder and beating faster than when it's at rest. During stress testing, you exercise to make your heart work harder and beat faster while heart tests are performed.
  • Echocardiogram. This test uses sound waves to create a moving picture of your heart. Echocardiogram provides information about the size and shape of your heart and how well your heart chambers and valves are functioning.
  • Angiography. Angiography uses a special dye injected into the bloodstream to outline the insides of arteries on x-ray pictures.

Other Considerations
When deciding if you're a candidate for CABG, you doctor will also consider your:

  • History and past treatment of heart disease, including surgeries, procedures, or medicines
  • History of other diseases and conditions
  • Age and general health
  • Family history of CAD, heart attack, or other heart diseases.

This answer from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has been reviewed and/or edited by Dr. William D. Knopf.

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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.