Your doctor will diagnose a heart attack based on your signs and symptoms, your medical and family histories, and test results. Cardiac and vascular imaging specialists on the medical staff of Baylor Scott & White The Heart Hospital – Plano use advanced technologies to diagnose and manage a wide range of cardiac and vascular disorders. Preventive screening and heart tests allow us to track how you're doing and make a diagnosis. With the advent of more precise imaging, quicker scan times, and more controlled radiation doses, today's imaging is faster, more comfortable, and safer.
An EKG is a simple, painless test that detects and records the heart's electrical activity. The test shows how fast the heart is beating and its rhythm (steady or irregular). An EKG also records the strength and timing of electrical signals as they pass through each part of the heart.
An EKG can show signs of heart damage due to coronary
heart disease (CHD) and signs of a previous or current heart attack.
During a heart attack, heart muscle cells die and release proteins into the bloodstream. Blood tests can measure the amount of these proteins in the bloodstream. Higher than normal levels of these proteins suggest a heart attack.
Commonly used blood tests include troponin tests, CK or CK-MB tests, and serum myoglobin tests. Blood tests often are repeated to check for changes over time.
Coronary angiography is a test that uses dye and special x-rays to show the insides of your coronary arteries. This test often is done during a heart attack to help find blockages in the coronary arteries.
To get the dye into your coronary arteries, your doctor will use a procedure called cardiac catheterization.
A thin, flexible tube called a catheter is put into a blood vessel in your arm, groin, or neck. The tube is threaded into your coronary arteries, and the dye is released into your bloodstream.
Special x-rays are taken while the dye is flowing through the coronary arteries. The dye lets your doctor study the flow of blood through the heart and blood vessels.
If your doctor finds a blockage, they may recommend a procedure called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), sometimes referred to as coronary angioplasty. This procedure can help restore blood flow through a blocked artery. Sometimes a small mesh tube called a stent is placed in the artery to help prevent blockages after the procedure.
If you are in need of heart care and an evaluation of your condition, talk to your physician about a referral to
The Heart Valve Center of Texas.
Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Physicians are members of the medical staff at one of Baylor Scott & White Health's subsidiary, community or affiliated medical centers and are neither employees nor agents of those medical centers, Baylor Scott & White The Heart Hospital – Plano or Baylor Scott & White Health.