Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Your doctor will start with a medical history and physical exam. After that, your doctor mighr recommend:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG). The electrical activity of your heart is recorded via electrodes attached to your skin. Certain abnormalities in your heart's electrical activity may indicate myocardial ischemia.
  • Echocardiogram. Sound waves directed at your heart from a wand-like device held to your chest produce video images of your heart. An echocardiogram can help identify whether an area of your heart has been damaged and isn't pumping normally.
  • Nuclear scan. Small amounts of radioactive material are injected into your bloodstream. While you exercise, the tracer is monitored as it flows through your heart and lungs —allowing blood-flow problems to be identified.
  • Coronary angiography. A dye is injected into the blood vessels of your heart. An X-ray machine then takes a series of images (angiograms), offering a detailed look at the inside of your blood vessels.
  • Cardiac CT scan. This test can determine if you have coronary artery calcification — a sign of coronary atherosclerosis. The heart arteries also can be seen using CT scanning (coronary CT angiogram).
  • Stress test. Your heart rhythm, blood pressure and breathing are monitored while you walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike. Exercise makes your heart pump harder and faster than usual, so a stress test can detect heart problems that might not be noticeable otherwise.
July 25, 2015