There is no single test that can diagnose the heart disease. The doctor will ask about the family history, the risk factors, and do the physical examination and several tests. Doctors consider all this and decide which tests need to be done.
These are the common tests done in case of heart disease:
1. EKG/ECG – Electrocardiogram is used to measure the rate and regularity of heart beat.
2. Echocardiogram – This test uses sound waves to create a picture of the heart. The picture is more detailed than an x-ray image.
3. Exercise stress test –
- This test shows how well the heart pumps at higher workloads when it needs more oxygen.
- EKG and blood pressure readings are taken before , during and after exercise to see how the heart responds to exercise.
- The first EKG and blood pressure readings are done to baseline. Readings are then taken when a person walks on the exercise treadmill, pedal a stationary bicycle or receive medicine to make the heart beat faster.
- The test continues till the heart reached heart rate set by the doctor.
- The exercise part is stopped in case of chestpain or breathlessness.
- It takes 15-20 minutes for this test.
4.Chest X-ray – A chest x-ray takes the picture of the heart and lungs.
5. Cardiac catheterization –
- A thin flexible tube is passed through an artery at the top of the leg (groin) or in the arm to reach the coronary arteries.
- This allows the doctor to examine inside the arteries to see if there is any blockage.
- The doctor determines the pressure and and blood flow in the chambers of heart, collect blood samples from heart and examine the arteries by x-ray.
6. Coronary Angiography –
This test is usualy performed along with cardiac catheterization. A dye is injected into the coronary arteries. The doctor can see the flow of blood through the heart on an xray screen.
7. Nuclear Heart scans – This test uses radioactive tracers ( Technetium or thalium) to outline heart chambers and major blood vessels leading to and from the heart. A nuclear heart scan shows any damage to the heart muscle.
8. EBCT ( Electron beam computed tomography ) This test identifies and measures calcium build up in and around the coronary arteries.
9. Fasting blood glucose test to check the sugar levels as diabetes is major risk factor for heart disease.
10. A fasting Lipoprotein profile to check the cholesterol levels.