Diagnosis & Tests

Exactly when do you go from having risk factors to having heart disease? These links take you to information on the tests a doctor uses to diagnose heart disease.


The first step is getting a doctor’s exam. Here’s a description of what the doctor will do.


Whether you spell it EKG or ECG, it’s an electrocardiogram. Learn the basics here.

Why get a chest X-ray? What happens? Click here for quick answers.

Does your heart respond well to exertion? That’s what a stress test looks for. Here’s a straightforward description, including how to prepare for a stress test.

The head-up tilt table test is used to help find the cause of fainting spells. Here’s what you need to know.

There are several variations on the echocardiogram, or “echo,” as doctors call it. Learn about these ultrasound-like tests of the heart — and find out what to expect — here.

Cardiac catheterization — also called a coronary angiogram — means running a catheter into your heart. It’s done to help doctors see what’s going on in there, and whether they need to operate. Here’s where to learn about it.

Electrophysiology — the EP test — takes measurements of your heart rhythm — recording the electrical activity and pathways of your heart. Start preparing for it by clicking here.

Computed tomography (CT scan) of the heart can visualize your heart’s anatomy. Calcium-score heart scan and coronary CT angiography are just a few types used to diagnose heart disease.

A myocardial biopsy is when a doctor uses a special catheter to remove a piece of your heart tissue for examination. Click here to learn why it’s done.

A heart MRI is a great way for doctors to get a look — from the outside — at how your heart is working. Read about it here.

Pericardiocentesis — also called a pericardial tap — means using a needle to get a sample of the fluid in the sac surrounding the heart. Here’s what you need to know.


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