Coronary Artery Disease Diagnosis

There is no one simple test–some or all of the following procedures may be needed.

Coronary Artery Disease DiagnosisCoronary artery disease diagnosis procedures are used 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 health professional may use some tests to see how advanced the coronary artery disease is.

The only certain way to diagnose and assess the extent of coronary artery disease is coronary angiography. Other tests can indicate a problem but do not show exactly where it is.

An examination for coronary artery disease 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

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

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 fairly common.

Nuclear scanning

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

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.

Coronary artery disease is treated in a number of ways, depending on the seriousness of the disease. For many people, coronary artery disease is managed with lifestyle changes and medications. Others with severe coronary artery disease may need surgery. In any case, once coronary artery disease develops, it requires lifelong management.

In this section

Coronary Artery Disease
Quantity of Sleep May Raise Heart Disease Risk
Coronary Artery Bypass Grafts
Coronary Artery Disease Surgical Options
Medication for Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary Artery Disease Risk factors
Coronary Artery Disease Symptoms
Coronary Artery Disease Treatment Options
Coronary Artery Disease Diagnosis – You are here

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