Test for Heart Disease
While there is no single specific test for heart disease, doctors can recommend one or more tests to help make a diagnosis. The specific test your healthcare provider recommends will depend on your physical exam results, your heart disease risk factors, and family medical history. Some of the tests your doctor may recommend include an electrocardiogram, stress tests, or a new test known as a specialized CT scan.
Test for Heart Disease: An Overview
There is not one specific test for heart disease. Instead, your healthcare providers can recommend one of several tests to look for the disease. The specific test or tests your healthcare provider recommends will be based on:
- Physical exam results
- Heart disease risk factors
- Whether there is a family history for early heart disease
- Possible heart disease symptoms.
Along with your risk factors, symptoms, and results from the physical exam, each heart disease test is 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.
Specific Heart Disease Tests
Some of the tests your healthcare provider may recommend include:
- Blood tests
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
- Stress tests
- Nuclear heart scans
- Cardiac catheterization
- Specialized CT scan.
Blood tests that may be ordered as part of evaluating someone for heart disease 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 records your heart's electrical activity and can show certain problems, such as abnormal heartbeats or damage to the heart.