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Heart Attacks Center

Heart Attack Diagnosis

Heart attacks are most frequently diagnosed during an emergency situation.  However, days or weeks after heart attack has been diagnosed, doctors may perform a 'stress test'.  An ECG and other diagnostic tests record your heart's and arteries' response to stress.  But what other medical tests are helpful for confirming that a heart attack has occurred?

Medical exams
Your doctor will ask for your medical history, family medical history, duration that you have been experiencing symptoms, and medication that you are currently taking.  Additionally, you will have your blood pressure and pulse checked.  Medical exams that doctors order to diagnose a heart attack include:

Blood tests - Blood tests are used to measure proteins released by dying heart muscle cells.  

Chest x-ray - An x-ray allows the doctor to see the size of the heart, and if it has an irregular shape

Coronary catheterization (angiogram) - This test reveals blocked arteries through the injection of a dye.  Blocked arteries are revealed with a chest X-Ray.

Echocardiogram - Sound waves produce a picture of your heart, thereby allowing your doctor to see which part of the heart is injured.

Electrocardiogram (ECG) - Because the healthy human heart has a specific pattern of electrical activity, this test detects if there is abnormal electrical activity indicative of a heart attack.

Nuclear scan - This test reveals which areas of reduced blood flow in the heart with the injection of radioactive dye.

Once a diagnosis has been made, treatment can begin.  But is there a cure for a heart attack?  And what's the difference between emergency treatment for heart attack and after care?  Read the next section on medical treatment for a heart attack to learn more.  

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