If you have a heart problem, are exhibiting symptoms, or you are at risk for developing cardiovascular issues, your doctor may order a heart test.
But, have no fear!
Heart tests are very common, often non-invasive procedures that help physicians make a diagnosis and develop treatment plans for a variety of heart conditions.
Are There Different Kinds Of Heart Tests?
Your doctor will decide which heart test is most suitable for you depending on your symptoms, family history, etc. For the sake of this article, we will be discussing the most common kinds of heart tests (according to the Heart & Stroke Foundation).
- Purpose: Allows doctors to see how blood flows into the heart and identify any problems with the coronary arteries
- Procedure: A catheter is inserted into a blood vessel to deliver a special dye to the coronary arteries. This dye makes blood vessels visible on an X-ray.
- Who is this test for? Patients with angina (chest pain) or for those with suspected coronary artery disease
- Purpose: To assess blood flow through the heart and blood vessels, and to measure any obstructions in the arteries or narrowing / leakage of heart valves
- Procedure: High frequency sound waves are bounced off the heart and blood vessels. Returning sound waves are recorded and turned into pictures, showing blood flow through the arteries or heart.
- Who is this test for? Patients with atherosclerosis or coronary artery disease
- Purpose: Used to diagnose issues with heart valves
- Procedure: A transducer (an instrument that directs sound waves) is moved around the chest to create a picture of the heart. This picture illustrates texture, shape, heart valve movement, and heart chamber size.
- Who is this test for? This test is used to evaluate numerous heart conditions, including heart murmurs, heart muscle damage as a result of heart attack, and heart infections. It is sometimes recommended for people experiencing abnormal heart sounds,
shortness of breath, palpitations, angina, or for those who have a history of stroke.
- Purpose: Also known as an ECG or EKG, this test is done to inspect heart function
- Procedure: Electrodes are placed on the body and used to measure the electrical activity that passes through the heart with each heart beat
- Who is this test for? Patients experiencing arrhythmia, chest pain, or palpitations
- Purpose: Used to diagnose heart rhythm disturbances
- Procedure: A small recording device is worn, which is connected to electrodes on the chest. Heart rate and rhythm is monitored over a 24-hour period (sometimes longer).
- Who is this test for? Patients who have palpitations or are experiencing unexplainable dizziness
When Should I Get A Heart Test?
Regardless of your age or health status, it is important to get screened for cardiovascular disease. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends that certain screening tests begin at age 20!
Screening tests are different from heart tests.
- Blood pressure
- Blood glucose
If these preliminary screening tests show any signs of heart disease, your doctor may send you for a heart test.
It’s important to know that YOU can help your doctor decide which heart test is best for you. Don’t be afraid to ask your physician a lot of questions before saying “yes” to a procedure. You have the right to get the answers you need in order to make an informed decision!
Do you have heart disease or a history of cardiac emergencies in your family? Having an AED in your home is just as important as keeping up with your screening and heart tests, and the In-Home AED is the most compact and lightweight to store, without compromising on quality!