Tests And Investigations
If your doctor thinks that you may have a heart condition then you may need the following tests / investigations:
- Blood tests
- Chest x–ray
- Electrocardiogram (ECG)
- Urine tests
- Monitoring your weight and blood pressure
- Detailed family history and lifestyle evaluation to check for any cardiovascular risk factors
- Eye examination: your eyes will be examined to look at the blood vessels at the back of the eye
- Checking your pulses in your wrists, legs and feet
Depending on your situation, further tests or investigations may be necessary. These can include:
- Exercise ECG: also known as a treadmill test or an exercise test
- Echocardiogram: also known as an 'echo'
- Angiogram: also known as cardiac catheterisation
- Magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI)
- thallium Scan: also called myocardial perfusion scintigraphy
Routine blood tests include:
- Full blood count (FBC): this test measures the levels of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. It also measures the haemoglobin (oxygen carrying component of red blood cells).
- Urea and Electrolytes (U's & E's): urea levels help to monitor how the kidneys are working. Electrolytes (e.g. sodium, potassium) and minerals (e.g. calcium) help to stabilise the heart rhythm.
- Glucose: this test measures the level of sugar in the blood.
- Liver and thyroid function.
Other blood tests include:
- Troponin blood test: troponin is a protein which is released into the blood stream when the heart muscle is damaged. The troponin level provides a quick and accurate measure of any heart muscle damage. It is used to help diagnose a heart attack and may need to be taken on admission to hospital and / or 12 hours from the onset of symptoms.
- Cholesterol level and lipid profile.
- Checking for altered hormone levels: this can be a possible cause of high blood pressure.
Back to top
A chest x–ray is useful for showing the size and shape of the heart and detecting chest disorders. It can also show any fluid in the lungs, which may be caused by heart disease.
You may need to give a urine sample. This will be tested for protein and blood which, if found, may indicate that your kidneys need to be examined more closely. Kidney damage / disease can be a cause of high blood pressure and high blood pressure can make any existing kidney disease worse.
Back to top