Coronary Artery Disease

Medically reviewed by Carina Fung, PharmD, BCPPS

Coronary artery disease diagnosis

When visiting a healthcare provider to find out your risk for coronary artery disease, he or she will often begin with a physical examination and ask you questions about your lifestyle. You may be tested to determine your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.

If you are at high risk for heart disease (whether because of pre-existing conditions or genetic or lifestyle factors), your healthcare provider or a specialist can use several tests to diagnose coronary artery disease.

Some common tests20 used to diagnose coronary artery disease include:

  • ECG or EKG (electrocardiogram): An electrocardiogram21 measures the electrical activity, rate, and regularity of your heartbeat.
  • Echocardiogram: This test uses ultrasound (high frequency sound waves) to create a picture of the heart.
  • Exercise stress test: This test measures your heart rate while you perform physical activity, such as walking on a treadmill. This helps to determine how well your heart works when it has to pump more blood.
  • Chest X-ray: A chest x-ray22 uses x-ray imaging to locate and create a picture of the heart, lungs, and other organs in the chest. This test does not show the internal structures of the heart, however.
  • Cardiac catheterization: Cardiac catheterization23 is a procedure that examines how well the heart is working. This test checks the inside of your arteries for blockage by inserting a thin, flexible tube through an artery in the groin, arm, or neck to reach the heart. Healthcare professionals or cardiac specialists can measure blood pressure within the heart and the strength of blood flow through the heart’s chambers, as well as collect blood samples from the heart or inject dye into the coronary arteries.
  • Coronary angiogram: A coronary angiogram24 monitors blockage and the flow of blood through the coronary arteries. This test uses x-rays to inject dye via cardiac catheterization. If you suspect that you may have coronary artery disease (or any other heart disease) it is important that you see your healthcare provider, as he or she will be able to provide you with the proper diagnosis and treatment, if necessary.

Disclaimer: The information on this site is generalized and is not medical advice. It is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard seeking advice or delay in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our site. RxSaver makes no warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of this information.

If you are in crisis or you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.