Coronary Artery Disease Diagnostic Testing
How is coronary artery disease (CAD) diagnosed?
Your cardiologist (heart doctor) will diagnose coronary artery disease based on your symptoms, your medical and family history, your risk factors, and the results from tests and procedures. There are several diagnostic tests that doctors can use to diagnose coronary artery disease (CAD). Depending on your symptoms and medical history, your cardiologist may order a combination of the following medical tests.
Blood tests may be ordered to check the levels of blood cholesterol, especially in those who are over 40 years old, have a family history of heart or cholesterol-related conditions, are overweight, and have high blood pressure or another condition, such as an underactive thyroid gland, or any condition which may elevate blood levels of cholesterol. The blood test may also measure triglycerides, sugar, lipoproteins, or proteins that are markers of inflammation. Abnormal levels are risk factors for coronary artery disease (CAD).
Cardiac CT Angiography and Calcium Scoring
Computerized Tomography (CT) scanners work by directing x-ray beams through the patient's body, which are then caught by detectors that spiral around the body and create 2D and 3D images. San Antonio's 64-slice CT scanner provides images of cardiac anatomy with exceptional detail and clarity. There are two main types of Cardiac CT. They are Coronary CT Angiography (CTA) and Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring.
Coronary CT Angiography (CTA) is used to examine your heart chambers and coronary arteries. A small amount of contrast is injected through an IV in your arm which allows doctors to visualize blood vessels and identify narrowed or thrombosed sections of the coronary arteries.
Coronary Angiogram (Heart Catheterization)
A coronary angiogram is a minimally invasive diagnostic procedure performed in the cardiac catheterization laboratory. A coronary angiogram helps your doctor determine if you have narrowing or blockages in the coronary arteries, which are the arteries that supply blood to your heart muscle. Doctors thread a long, thin tube (called a catheter) into an artery in the groin or wrist and pass it up into the heart. Once the catheter is in place, a dye is injected to allow the doctors to clearly see if the arteries are narrowed or blocked. The movement of the dye through your heart and coronary arteries is recorded as an angiogram and viewed on monitor.
At San Antonio Regional Hospital's Heart Institute, our cardiologists, heart surgeons, and staff are here to help you regain control of your cardiovascular health.
Heart Institute Quick Links