Diagnosis of Coronary heart disease
Diagnostic Test list for Coronary heart disease:
The list of medical tests
mentioned in various sources as
used in the diagnosis of Coronary heart disease
Tests and diagnosis discussion for Coronary heart disease:
There is no one simple test--some or all of
the following procedures may be needed. These diagnostic procedures are used to
establish CHD, to determine its extent and severity, and to rule out other
possible causes of the symptoms.
After taking a careful medical history and doing a physical examination, the
doctor may use some tests to see how advanced the CHD is. The only certain way
to diagnose and assess the extent of CHD is coronary angiography (see below);
other tests can indicate a problem but do not show exactly where it is.
An examination for CHD may include the following tests:
- An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) is a graphic record of
the electrical activity of the heart as it contracts and rests. Abnormal
heartbeats and some areas of damage, inadequate blood flow, and heart
enlargement can be detected on the records.
- A stress test (also called a treadmill test or exercise
ECG) is used to record the heartbeat during exercise. This is done because
some heart problems only show up when the heart is working hard. In the test,
an ECG is done before, during, and after exercising on a treadmill; breathing
rate and blood pressure may be measured as well. Exercise tests are useful but
are not completely reliable; false positives (showing a problem where none
exists) and false negatives (showing no problem when something is wrong) are
- Nuclear scanning is sometimes used to show damaged areas
of the heart and expose problems with the heart's pumping action. A small
amount of radioactive material is injected into a vein, usually in the arm. A
scanning camera records the nuclear material that is taken up by heart muscle
(healthy areas) or not taken up (damaged areas).
- Coronary angiography (or arteriography) is a test used to
explore the coronary arteries. A fine tube (catheter) is put into an artery of
an arm or leg and passed through the tube into the arteries of the heart. The
heart and blood vessels are then filmed while the heart pumps. The picture
that is seen, called an angiogram or arteriogram, will show problems such as a
blockage caused by atherosclerosis.
(Source: excerpt from NHLBI, coronary heart disease: NHLBI