What tests might my doctor do?
An electrocardiogram, sometimes called an EKG or ECG, is a simple test that can show if your heart or arteries have been damaged. If the EKG is done while you are having angina, it can also show if your pain is caused by a problem with your heart.
The next step after an EKG may be a stress test. Often, this test is done while you walk on a treadmill. Your doctor will look at how your heart handles work to see if it's abnormal when you exercise. Your doctor may also have X-rays of your heart taken before and after you exercise. These pictures can show if an area of the heart is not getting enough blood during exercise. If this is so, it may mean that the arteries supplying blood to your heart are blocked.
Another important test is cardiac catheterization (say: “kath-a-ter-a-zay-shun”). In this test, a very long and very thin tube is inserted through an artery in the arm or leg and then guided into the heart. Dye is injected into the arteries around the heart and X-rays are taken. The X-rays will show if any of the arteries that supply the heart are blocked.
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff