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Common Medical Tests To Diagnose Heart Conditions
04 Sep 2021
Common Medical Tests To Diagnose Heart Conditions image

Table of Contents

Overview
Angiogram 
Electrocardiogram(ECG)
Magnetic Resonance Imaging(MRI)
Blood Tests
Echocardiogram
Chest X-Ray

Overview

Our heart is working 24 hours a day round the clock pumping blood and oxygen along with all the organs of your body. Being the important muscle of the body, your heart needs proper supervision and care. Improper care of your heart can lead to many serious problems.

The modern medical system has a cure for almost all types of diseases. There are also a series of tests to diagnose the issues related to your heart too. In this article, we are going to understand some of the common medical tests and their procedures to diagnose heart health.

Angiogram 

An angiogram is the most common medical test to diagnose the risks and defects associated with the heart and its parts. So an angiogram mainly checks damaged blood vessels in your heart. 

What are the types of Angiogram?

  1. Coronary Angiogram:

A coronary angiogram is usually performed during or after a heart attack. This test is also performed if there is a blockage in blood flowing to the heart. It includes X-ray imaging to observe the heart’s blood vessels.

During this procedure, a dye visible to the X-ray machine is injected into your artery and a series of images are taken by the X-ray machine known as angiograms

With the help of these angiograms, the doctor analyses the health of your heart and blockage in the arteries. If necessary, the doctor can open blocked arteries during this procedure.

  1. Coronary Computed Tomography Angiogram (CCTA): 

The coronary computed tomography angiogram is a type of angiogram that uses iodine-containing contrast material and CT scan to determine narrowed arteries to the heart.

The image created by this test is used to generate a three-dimensional image for further examination. The contrast material used in CCTA can sometimes cause allergies. Tell your doctor about all the medications and allergies you are possessing.

Electrocardiogram(ECG)

An electrocardiogram or ECG is a painless test that records the electrical activity of your heart.  Sensors attached to the skin evaluate the health of your heart by producing signals. These signals are observed by your doctor to see any unusualness in the heart.

There are electrical impulses in our heart for supporting blood flow. An ECG records these electrical impulses to measure our heartbeat rate. It is one of the simplest and fastest tests used to diagnose your heart. 

When should you need an ECG?

Your doctor may recommend you to have an ECG test under certain specific cases as follows:  

  1. Arrhythmias or irregular heart rhythm.
  2. Evaluate health problems related to your heart such as tiredness, shortness of breath, weakness, dizziness, and breathing trouble.
  3. Determine the overall heart’s condition after surgery, medical procedure, previous heart attack, or other heart-related problems.
  4. Analyze the working of an implanted pacemaker
  5. Check if the heart has any trouble due to coronary artery diseases.
  6. Palpitations (sudden observable heartbeats)

The test generally involves sticky sensors usually attached to your chest, arm, or legs which records your heart’s electrical impulses. These tests only last for a few minutes and sometimes they can vary depending upon the condition of the patient. 

Magnetic Resonance Imaging(MRI):

Magnetic resonance imaging or MRI is a scanning procedure that uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to generate images inside the body, especially the heart. An MRI is used to take static or moving images of your heart.

An MRI scanner is a large tube-like structure containing powerful magnets. During the procedure, the patient needs to lie flat on the table. The scan lasts from 15 to 90 minutes depending upon the images taken. 

Is MRI harmful?

MRI scanning is a painless and safe procedure. It does not involve any radiation. A special dye is injected for the visibility of the heart and arteries during the scanning. It is very important to stay still during the entire procedure. 

The test results give a clear idea about your heart, it is working, and problems or defects associated with it. An MRI  scan is advisable in every situation. For example, your health expert will not allow you to undergo an MRI test, if you are using a pacemaker or metal joint.

Blood Tests

Blood tests are an important procedure in determining one’s heart health, mainly after having critical conditions like a heart attack. During a heart attack, your heart muscles can get damaged and your heart releases toxic substances into the bloodstream.

Does blood test detect heart problems?

The answer is yes. Blood tests are a common and widely used method to detect the toxicity in blood and thus determine heart health. Blood tests determine the level of toxic or foreign substances in your bloodstream released by the heart and thus it shows damage to your heart.

Most commonly, blood tests after a heart attack are used to determine the level of troponin in your blood. A very high level of troponin content indicates that a heart attack has occurred. About 12 hours after a heart attack, most patients who possessed heart attacks have a high level of troponin in their blood.

To check Fats, minerals, and other factors in the blood, your health expert advises blood tests. A high level of bad cholesterol in your blood is a sign that you are at risk of having heart attacks. 

Echocardiogram

An echocardiogram is a common procedure, which involves using sound waves o produce a clear image of your heart. This test allows your doctor to see the heartbeat and pumping blood by your heart.

This procedure involves the usage of a probe. The probe is usually placed in your chest or sometimes in your esophagus. The resulting images produced by echocardiogram allow your doctor to identify the problems related to your heart, its chambers, or arteries. 

What are the most common types of Echocardiogram?

Depending upon the health condition you are possessing or the information your doctor needs, you may undergo several types of echocardiograms. An echocardiogram is mainly classified into: 

  1. Transthoracic Echocardiogram:

Transthoracic Echocardiogram is the most common type of Echocardiodiagram. During a TTE, your medical expert uses a small device called a transducer. To obtain a clear picture of the heart your health expert uses a transducer.

  1. Transesophageal Echocardiogram:

A transesophageal Echocardiogram is a type of echocardiogram that provides a more clear image of your heart. Your health expert may also advise this medical procedure if it is difficult to obtain an image of the heart with a normal echocardiogram,

  1. Stress Echocardiogram: 

It takes ultrasound images of your heart. Then your medical expert tells you to undergo physical activity. Again an ultrasound image is captured and compared with the previous one. If you are not able to exercise, then your doctor will prescribe an injection to boost your heartbeat.

Chest X-Ray

An X-Ray device captures pictures of your internal organs such as lungs, heart, and blood vessels. Through examination of these pictures, your doctor will determine if you have any heart risks.

A chest X-Ray, also known as a radiograph is focused beams of radiation. The pictures obtained from the procedure look like a negative image of a black and white photograph. 

When do you need a chest x-ray?

Your health expert will advise you to undergo a chest x-ray if you are possessing or have the signs of the following conditions such as: 

  1. Chest pain
  2. Chronic cough 
  3. Difficulty in breathing
  4. Fever along with other infections
  5. Congestive heart failure
  6. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases

For your life beat to go on, you need a healthy heart. You should consult a cardiologist if you have any issues or doubts related to your heart health.

angiogram
ECG
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