Heart Disease Diagnosis
When diagnosing heart disease, the doctor typically starts by asking about your current symptoms, medications you take, your family's medical history, and any heart disease risk factors you may have. The next step usually involves a physical exam to look for signs of heart disease and recommending certain tests or procedures. While there is no single test used to reach a diagnosis, some of the tests used include blood tests, an electrocardiogram, and stress tests.
There is no single test used to diagnose heart disease. Therefore, in order to help make a diagnosis, your healthcare provider will ask a number of questions, including questions about:
- Current symptoms
- Other medical conditions
- Current medications
- Your risk factors for heart disease
- Family history of medical conditions, including heart disease.
Your healthcare provider will also perform a physical exam, looking for signs and symptoms of heart disease and recommend certain tests and/or procedures. These procedures are used to:
- Decide if you have coronary heart disease
- Determine the extent and severity of the disease
- Rule out other possible causes of your symptoms.
Some of the tests your healthcare provider may recommend to help make a heart disease diagnosis include:
- Blood tests
- An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
- Stress tests
- An echocardiogram
- Nuclear heart scans
- Cardiac catheterization.
Your doctor uses your physical exam results, risk factors, family history, and symptoms to decide which test or tests to order.
(Click Test for Heart Disease to learn more about each of these tests.)