Some blood tests that may be ordered as part of evaluating someone for angina include:
- A fasting glucose test to check your blood sugar level.
- A fasting lipid panel to check your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
- The CRP test measures c-reactive protein (CRP), a protein in the blood that shows the presence of inflammation. Inflammation is the body's response to injury. High levels may be a risk factor for heart disease (see CRP Test for Heart Disease).
- A test to check for low hemoglobin in your blood. Hemoglobin is the part of red blood cells that carries oxygen to all parts of your body. Low hemoglobin can worsen angina in people at risk for it.
An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) is a test that records your heart's electrical activity and can show certain problems, such as abnormal heartbeats or damage to the heart.
Some heart problems are easier to diagnose when the heart is working hard and beating fast. During stress testing, a patient exercises or is given medicine to make the heart work harder and beat faster while tests are performed.
An exercise stress test is where your heart, breathing, and blood pressure are monitored while you exercise using a treadmill or a stationary bicycle. An EKG is usually done before, during, and after the stress test.
Other heart tests, such as nuclear heart scanning or echocardiography, can be done at the same time as an EKG. During nuclear heart scanning, radioactive dye is injected into the bloodstream, and a special camera shows the flow of blood to the heart muscle. If a person is unable to exercise, a medicine can be injected into the bloodstream to make the heart work harder and beat faster. Nuclear heart scanning or echocardiography is then done.
Two newer tests that are being done with stress testing are magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) scanning of the heart. MRI shows detailed images of the structures and beating of the heart. PET scanning shows blood flow to the heart muscle and areas of damage.