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Diagnosis of Heart Attack
Tests to Diagnose a Heart Attack
Coronary CT Angiography
- Troponins—a group of proteins involved in heart muscle contraction
- Creatine kinase (CK)—can be used if troponin testing is unavailable
- Myoglobin—can be useful for diagnosis when used in combination with other blood tests
Tests to Evaluate Heart Damage
- Chest x-ray —Detects heart enlargement or congestion in the lungs. This test can help diagnose heart failure or an unrelated lung condition
- Exercise stress test —Records the heart's electrical activity during increased physical activity. It may be coupled with other tests that detect blood flow through the heart. People who cannot exercise may be given IV medication that simulates the effects of physical exertion.
- Echocardiogram —Ultrasound detects abnormalities in the heart muscle by highlighting areas of poor blood flow.
- MRI scan —Use of magnetic waves to make two- or three-dimensional pictures of the heart.
- Nuclear scanning —Contrast material is injected into a vein and observed as it is absorbed by the heart muscle. The areas with diminished blood flow show up as dark spots on the scan.
- SPECT scan —Evaluates blood flow to the heart muscle.
Acute coronary syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated March 31, 2014. Accessed April 4, 2014.
How is a heart attack diagnosed? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/heartattack/diagnosis.html. Updated December 17, 2013. Accessed April 4, 2014.
ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated March 31, 2014. Accessed April 4, 2014.
Symtoms and diagnosis of heart attack. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/SymptomsDiagnosisofHeartAttack/Symptoms-and-Diagnosis-of-Heart-Attack%5FUCM%5F002041%5FArticle.jsp. Updated March 22, 2013. Accessed April 4, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael J. Fucci, DO
- Review Date: 09/2013
- Update Date: 04/04/2014