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Tests to diagnose coronary artery disease

If your doctor thinks you may have heart disease, you will need some tests to make sure. Most often, the first tests include:

  • An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG).
  • A chest X-ray.
  • Blood tests.
  • An exercise electrocardiogram. This is also called a "stress test."

Other tests may include:

  • Cardiac perfusion scan. This test shows if you have enough blood flow to the heart.
  • Echocardiogram and stress echocardiogram. This test uses ultrasound to see areas of poor blood flow in the heart. It can also check how well
  • your heart is working after a heart attack. The test can help your doctor find out how much blood your heart is pumping during each heartbeat
  • (ejection fraction).

Coronary angiogram. This is an X-ray test that creates pictures of the blood flow through your coronary arteries. It allows your doctor to see any blockage or narrowing of the artery. It's done using a soft, thin tube (catheter) that is put in a blood vessel in the arm or groin and gently moved into the heart. Most often, the test is only done if bypass surgery or angioplasty is an option.