The ways of diagnosing a heart disease could vary based on the type of disease a physician is suspecting. However, there’s some standard protocol most specialists in heart diseases follow to make critical yet accurate diagnoses. The process generally comprises of following stages –
- A thorough analysis of the medical history;
- Physical examination of the patient; and
- Finalization of the medical imaging and testing, which could best help through the diagnosis.
Though the diagnosis is fully the responsibility of your physician, it’s always a good idea to catch up on the basic information. Knowing the process could help to prevent you from getting overwhelmed and fatigued. To help you give a little insight into how exactly do doctors diagnose heart disease, we’ve put together all the basic information in this blog post.
Dive in to save yourself from fatigue!
Thorough Analysis of the Medical History – Medical history plays a crucial role in diagnosing heart diseases. In fact, telling your right medical background to a physician or specialist could really hell; through the rightful diagnosis and treatment of almost every disease. It simply is like an interview where your doctor asks you generic questions about the medical conditions you’ve previously been through and the symptoms you feel at the moment.
Based on the symptoms you illustrate, your doctor might ask you further details such as what triggers those symptoms, since when you are getting them, how long do these symptoms last, and in what manner do they impact your daily routine, etc.
Answering these questions truthfully is crucial to the rightful diagnosis of your disease. For instance, the indication of acute chest pain and syncope is essential to diagnosing a cardiac arrest.
Physical Examination – Once you’ve shared the accurate medical history with your doctor, they’re much likely to develop an understanding of your disease. For example, suppose you’ve complained about acute chest pain; the doctor would physically examine your symptoms to further know about your heart’s condition. The physical cardiac examination could help determine significant information, such as the presence or absence and the type of cardiovascular problem you’re probably suffering from.
Heart valve disease, aortic aneurysm, cardiac arrhythmias, and congestive heart failure are certain problems a patient complaining about cardiovascular problems might be facing. Physical examination helps massively in the diagnostic imaging of such diseases and often confirms the disease as well.
Specialized Medical Imaging & Testing –
While the thorough analysis of your medical history in combination with physical examination almost diagnoses heart disease, confirming the diagnosis with medical imaging and specialized testing is a crucial step. There is a list of incredible testing techniques that have been developed for diagnosing heart diseases.
However, cardiovascular testing is often very expensive, time-consuming, difficult to perform, and invasive. Thus, it’s ideal to undergo such testing in a targeted fashion with the objective of confirming diagnoses instead of doing multiple tests just to see what comes up.
With the variety of testing techniques available, the patient’s medical history and physical examination play an important role in helping the doctors determine what testing needs to be performed. Testing while keeping the background in mind can often help by quickly diagnosing and treating your heart disease.
The most effective medical imaging techniques used for diagnosing a heart disease include
The Electrocardiogram (ECG) – The electrocardiogram is meant for recording the electrical activity of the patient’s heart. It can reveal significant details about the heart rhythm and possible structural heart diseases that already exist, such as prior ventricular hypertrophy or heart attack.
ECG is a generic testing technique for patients complaining of chest pain or other symptoms of heart disease, and most doctors prescribe it to be a part of annual wellness examination programs.
Echocardiogram or Cardiac Ultrasound – Echocardiogram is general less time-consuming, non-invasive, and an easy-going testing technique that constructs the image of a patient’s heartbeats by using sound waves. It is an important testing technique that helps detect the possible enlargement of the cardiac chambers, heart valve disease, or a problem with the heart’s muscles, such as restrictive cardiomyopathy or dilated cardiomyopathy.
It can be performed respectively over specific intervals to monitor the changes in a patient’s cardiac health and helps to diagnose the disease much efficiently.
Cardiac MRI Study – The cardiac MRI study, in contrast to the CT scan, uses magnetic fields to capture the image of the patient’s heart and surroundings. It can help showcase a much detailed anatomic view of your heart – contributing to the diagnosis and characterization of much structural heart disease.
Cardiac CT scan – Similar to every CT scan, a cardiac CT scan uses a computerized X-ray machine to capture an image of the patient’s heart. The technique is also of great help in pointing out the calcium deposits present in the coronary arteries, indicating atherosclerosis.
The CT scans conducted earlier had a massive amount of radiation included, which was a reason for multiple side effects. However, the modernized CT scan uses less radiation and is least likely to cause any major side effects.
Stress Testing – Cardiac stress testing is a potential technique that helps assess whether the existing coronary disease is causing ischemia or not. The production of ischemia is the prominent driver of angina, and stress testing can help decipher the severity of possible angina pain.
A stress test is generally conducted using a thallium scan, which uses a small radioactive material to capture a comprehensive image of the patient’s heart. The image is quite detailed and showcases whether the blood is flowing rightly to the heart muscle or not. It can also be used much effectively to monitor the progress of anti-anginal therapy.
Cardiac Catheterization – It is an invasive testing technique recommended by doctors less often and only when they’re pretty sure about the diagnosis. It is conducted by inserting small catheters into the blood vessels further into the coronary arteries and heart. Once the catheters are inserted, the pressure inside the heart gets measured.
Next, a dye is injected into the cardiac chambers and vessels to produce a moving X-ray of the blood flowing through your heart.
Electrophysiology Study – Electrophysiology is a type of cardiac catheterization. However, it uses insulated wires in place of hollow tubes as catheters. This testing technique is meant for studying a patient’s cardiac electrical system that can help determine the presence or absence of multiple cardiac arrhythmias. It can also help to diagnose the mechanism of the disease and to treat certain kinds of arrhythmias.
Though picking the right testing technique is your physician’s responsibility, knowing the process they follow for diagnosing heart disease and the possible testing techniques you’ll have to go through is always helpful. It can save you from the fatigue you might face when put into an unknown treatment process.
In case your physician has recommended medical imaging or testing to get your suspected heart disease diagnosed. In that case, it’s always ideal for getting yourself tested by some authentic and affordable imaging services providers. The rightful diagnosis of your heart disease is crucial to your treatment and so choosing a trustworthy service is important.