Ischemic heart disease or coronary artery disease is a condition that is caused due to the lack of supply of oxygenated blood to the heart muscle.
Coronary heart disease starts as cardiac ischemia and then it progresses towards narrowing of heart arteries. As the disease progresses, it leads to heart failure and heart attack. Heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is completely stopped.
Coronary Heart Disease Diagnosis
As soon as people experience symptoms of coronary artery disease like angina, shortness of breath, and pain in the left shoulder, doctors advise certain diagnostic tests for further evaluation. This is because undiagnosed symptoms can lead to arrhythmia, heart failure, damaged heart muscles, and heart attack.
Heart tests used to confirm coronary heart disease
- TMT (stress test)
- CT-scan of the heart
- Heart MRI
- Coronary angiogram
- Coronary calcium testing
- C-reactive protein blood test
- Intravascular ultrasound
While some of these tests are direct imaging tests that determine the presence of coronary artery disease, others are biomarkers and initial tests. Tests like intravascular ultrasound allow invasive assessment of the presence of CAD disease.
On the other hand, angiography uses contrast dye in order to look out for aneurysms and CT angiography measures the presence and extent of atherosclerotic plaques, which lead to coronary artery disease.
Other blood tests serve as heart tests by evaluating the biomarkers for the presence of heart problems.
Before beginning these diagnostic test, doctors conduct a complete physical examination and look out for other medical conditions. Presence of hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, and family history are markers for coronary artery disease.
People with the presence of stable or unstable angina symptoms are first prescribed an ECG. It is also the first test for people who lack physical mobility and have other medical conditions. Along with a resting ECG, tests like blood pressure, fasting blood glucose, lipid profile, and hemoglobin are performed. Other tests like HbA1c, and TSH may also be prescribed for some patients.
With the presence of any irregular heartbeat, or aberrations in the graph, further investigations are done to look out for vascular diseases or other types of heart disease.
Generally, people with low risk of CAD disease are advised an ECG. People with a high risk are advised further imaging tests that determine the presence of coronary artery disease.