Monitoring the health of one's heart and cardiovascular system is one of the most important preventative steps an individual can take to ensure their long-term health. The most effective way to examine the overall health of the heart is a test called a coronary angiogram. This relatively non-invasive test involves injecting dye into the patient's bloodstream where it will flow into their heart. Special imaging technology is then used to follow the flow of the dye through the various chambers and valves of the heart to check for defects.
Abnormal Heart Stress Test Results
A stress test is a diagnostic test often used to detect coronary heart disease in an individual who is experiencing related symptoms. During a stress test, the patient walks on a treadmill machine that accelerates to make their heart work increasingly harder. An electrocardiogram is used to monitor the electrical rhythms in their heart throughout the exercise. A pulse monitor shows any abnormalities in the patient's heart rate, and a blood pressure cuff can alert the physician to any abnormal blood pressure changes during the test.
A stress test does not confirm or rule out a coronary artery disease diagnosis, but it can be used in combination with other risk factors to indicate more testing is needed. Abnormal stress test results point to a problem in the way the patient's heart is functioning. In order to determine the diagnosis, severity, and degree of coronary artery disease in a suspected individual, a coronary angiogram may be needed. A coronary angiogram is helpful because it can show the physician how the blood flows through the vessels in the heart, the presence of any interruptions in blood flow, and the location of such interruptions.