If you’re experiencing signs or symptoms of heart disease, your doctor will ask you to have one or more tests to diagnose your condition. The results of your tests will allow your doctor to determine an appropriate treatment plan which helps you recover and return to good health. If you have already had heart disease or heart surgery, your doctor may perform tests to find out if your condition is improving.
If your doctor thinks your signs and symptoms could be caused by a type of heart disease, you may need to have one or more of the following tests.
Blood tests help diagnose diseases and illnesses. They can also detect substances such as drugs. If you need blood tests, a small sample of your blood is collected, sent to a laboratory and analysed.
An ECG (which stands for electrocardiogram) is a test that measures the electrical pulses that trigger your heartbeat. These pulses are recorded by electrodes that are taped to your chest. They send signals to a machine called an electrocardiograph, which displays the results as a continuous wavy line with a series of spikes. Your doctor is then able to analyse the pattern and identify any problems.
Exercise stress test
An exercise stress test shows how well your heart handles exercise. Your doctor may recommend a stress test to identify the cause of chest pain, diagnose possible coronary artery disease, check the effectiveness of certain procedures, help create a safe exercise plan, identify any heart rhythm changes or determine your risk of heart disease.
A holter monitor is a device that records your heartbeats. It contains electrodes, wires and a small machine that attaches to your waistband. You may need a holter monitor if your doctor thinks there could be a problem with your heart rate or rhythm.
Six minute walk test
A six minute walk test measures how far you can walk on a flat surface for exactly six minutes. This test can help your doctor to find out about your general fitness levels, if you’re coping with your daily activities and how your heart and lungs respond to exercise.