Cardiovascular System Tests
Ultrasound, electrocardiograms, x-rays, nuclear scans, and biopsy are all ways to test the cardiovascular system. The exact one your doctor selects will be based on things like your risk factors, family history, and symptoms. Because of the detailed analysis they provide about your cardiovascular system, these procedures can help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.
There is no single test to diagnose problems with the heart or blood vessels (cardiovascular disease). Therefore, a healthcare professional will use a number of cardiovascular system tests to find possible problems. The healthcare provider will use information such as the physical exam results, risk factors, family history, and symptoms to decide which test or tests to order.
There are a number of different tests that a healthcare provider can use to look at the cardiovascular system and diagnose cardiovascular diseases. Some of these tests include:
- Blood tests
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
- Chest x-ray
- Stress test
- Nuclear scan
- Ankle/brachial index
- Computed tomography (CT) scan
Several different blood tests may be ordered as part of evaluating someone for a cardiovascular disease. A few of these tests include:
- A fasting glucose test that checks your blood sugar level to screen for diabetes.
- A fasting lipid panel to check your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
- CRP test. This blood 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 of CRP may be a risk factor for heart disease (see CRP Test for Heart Disease).
An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) is a test that can record your heart's electrical activity and show certain problems such as abnormal heartbeats or damage to the heart.