In most cases, the tests that you will need to diagnose a cardiovascular disease depends on your health condition and on what the doctors say. During a heart checkup, your doctor will most likely perform a physical examination and question you about your personal health and family medical history before asking you to undergo any tests, irrespective of the type of heart disease that you have. Also, besides the usual blood tests and chest X-ray tests, the other doctor may ask you to undergo certain tests to diagnose your heart disease. The heart checkup tests may include:
- Echocardiogram: This is a non-invasive examination that includes an ultrasound of your chest and shows detailed pictures of your heart’s structure and its function.
- Cardiac Catheterization: During this test, a short tube, known as a sheath is inserted into a vein or an artery, either in your leg or arm. A hollow, flexible and long tube, referred to as a guide catheter is then inserted into the sheath. With the help of the X-ray images on a monitor, your doctor threads the guide catheter through that vein or artery until it reaches your heart. The pressures that are created in your heart chambers can be measured, and the dye can be injected. The dye can also be seen on the X-ray, which in turn, helps your doctor see the blood flow through your heart, valves and blood vessels, to check for any abnormalities.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG): An ECG is one of the most common heart check-up tests that records the electrical signals and helps your doctor identify any irregularities or abnormalities in your heart’s structure and rhythm. You may have an ECG while you are exercising,e., stress electrocardiogram or while at rest.
- Holter Monitoring: A device called Holter monitoring that is portable is worn by the patient or the person on whom the test is to be conducted, to record a continuous ECG, generally for 24 to 72 hours. The Holter monitoring is used to identify the heart rhythm abnormalities that are not usually found in the ECG examination.
- Cardiac Computerized Tomography (CT Scan): The cardiac CT Scan is often included in most of the heart checkup packages and is used to check for any problems that are related to the heart. In this scan, you are made to lie on a table inside a doughnut-shaped machine. Once you are inside, an X-ray tube inside the machine begins to rotate around your body and gathers images of your chest and the heart.
- Cardiac Calcium Scoring: In this test, a CT scanner checks for the atherosclerotic plaque that is made up of cholesterol, calcium and scar tissues in your heart’s arteries. After the electrodes are attached to your chest and to an EKG machine that monitors your heartbeat, you are made to lie on an exam table that slides into a short, doughnut-shaped tunnel and hold your breath for around 10 to 20 seconds. This test helps to predict of future heart attacks and helps work on the treatment at an earlier stage.
These are a few of the common heart check-up tests that are conducted during heart check-ups.