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Heart Attack Tests

If you are experiencing symptoms of a heart attack, there are several diagnostic and interventional test that can be conducted to make a diagnosis, while also measuring damage to the heart muscle and future risk.

EKG (Electrocardiogram)

An EKG reveals abnormalities in the electrical conduction system of the heart. Distinct pattern changes in the appearance of electrical waves gives strong indication of whether a heart attack has occurred, as well the location of the damage.   

Blood Test

Your blood can reveal a lot about your health. During a heart attack, cells that are damaged release proteins, or biomarkers, into the bloodstream. Measuring the levels of these biomarkers can reveal the severity of the heart attack, where it started, and how long ago it occurred.

Echocardiogram

This test records the movement of blood through the heart and valves to assess how well your heart is working and identify areas that are not functioning correctly. An echocardiogram can also be used to determine which areas of the heart were damaged during a heart attack.

Chest X-ray

Doctors will sometimes take an x-ray of the heart, lungs, and chest area to assess heart size.

Cardiac CT or MRI

Computer Tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) are two types of imaging tests provide doctors with a more detailed view of the heart and surrounding blood vessels to assess damage and predict future heart attack risk.

Stress Test

An exercise stress test is a valuable way to help diagnose coronary artery disease and assess future risk of heart attack. Doctors monitor your heart function, including heart rate, blood pressure, and EKG reading, while you walk on a treadmill. This test can also help you determine your own exercise limits based on your heart’s capabilities and health.


Content licensed from:

Written by: the Healthline Editorial Team
Published on: Feb 15, 2011
Medically reviewed : Jennifer Monti, MD

This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the care and information received from your health care provider. Please consult a health care professional with any health concerns you may have.
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