Heart Attack

Frequently Asked Questions

9. What tests are used to diagnose a heart attack?

Several tests are used to diagnose a heart attack.

  • An electrocardiogram, also called an EKG, measures the rate and regularity of your heartbeat.
  • Blood tests identify and measure markers in the blood that can show how much damage was done to your heart. These tests are often repeated at specific time periods to check for changes.
  • A nuclear heart scan uses radioactive tracers to show damage to heart chambers and major blood vessels.
  • Cardiac catheterization involves passing a thin flexible tube through an artery in your groin or arm to look at your coronary arteries. It allows your doctor to examine the blood flow in your heart's chambers.
  • Cardiac angiography is usually performed along with cardiac catheterization, using a dye injected through the cardiac catheter. The dye allows the doctor to see where there may be blockages in the coronary arteries.