Suspicion of CAD may be based on your medical history and symptoms, such as chest pain with exertion. A complete physical exam will be done to look for other signs of CAD. Diagnosis is often made by assessing the results of several tests. Tests can also eliminate other health conditions with symptoms similar to CAD. In some people, CAD is found accidentally during a regular physical exam.
The most accurate way to diagnose CAD is with coronary angiography and coronary catheterization. During this procedure, a thin tube is threaded to the coronary artery where a dye is released. The dye shows the location of blockages in the coronary arteries.
Other tests that may detect changes in blood flow include:
Some tests may detect heart damage or other health conditions. These may include:
Blood tests may also be done to look for risk factors for CAD such as:
Blood tests may also be done to look for related conditions such as kidney or liver disease.
C-reactive protein (CRP) and other biomarkers as cardiac risk factors. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116446/C-reactive-protein-CRP-and-other-biomarkers-as-cardiac-risk-factors. Updated February 25, 2016. Accessed September 30, 2016.
Coronary artery disease (CAD). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116156/Coronary-artery-disease-CAD. Updated September 23, 2016. Accessed September 30, 2016.
How is coronary heart disease diagnosed? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/cad/diagnosis.html. Updated August 23, 2012. Accessed January 27, 2014.
Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/SymptomsDiagnosisofHeartAttack/Single-Photon-Emission-Computed-Tomography-SPECT_UCM_446358_Article.jsp. Updated September 11, 2015. Accessed March 2, 2016.
Last reviewed March 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.