Heart Attack Evaluation
- Congested lungs:
- During examination with a stethoscope
- Excessive sweating
- Heart murmur
- Rapid pulse
- Abnormally slow pulse:
- Less than 60 beats per minute
- High blood pressure
- Low blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeat
- Foot swelling (bilateral)
- Leg swelling (bilateral)
- Swelling of the veins in the neck
- Creased ear lobe
The two most important tests a physician uses to diagnose a heart attack include:
- Often shows changes consistent with a heart attack
- Frequently repeated to detect any evolving changes
- Cardiac enzymes:
Additional blood testing may include:
Additional tests that may be used to evaluate a heart attack include:
- Chest x-ray:
- Cardiac catheterization
- Intracoronary ultrasound:
- Shows images of the inside of coronary arteries
- MRI scan of the heart:
- Shows detailed images of the heart and coronary arteries
- Detects structural abnormalities of the heart
- MUGA scan
- SPECT scanning of the heart:
- Detects blood flow abnormalities to heart muscle
- Thallium heart scan
- Coronary artery CT scanning:
- Checks for possible obstructions in the coronary arteries
- Can show a build-up of calcium in a coronary artery
- Rubidium PET/CT scanning of the heart:
Heart Attack Electrocardiogram
An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) can be an effective tool in the evaluation of a possible heart attack.
How an ECG Works
An electrical impulse stimulates the muscle fibers in the heart to contract. The impulse spreads through the heart in a very organized manner. The heart's normal electrical impulse has a characteristic pattern. The ECG machine displays the pattern of the electrical impulse.
Abnormal electrical patterns on the ECG can help identify heart disease.
The ECG can identify:
Heart Attack Heart Catheterization
Cardiac catheterization and coronary angiogram are effective tools for evaluating the patient with a heart attack.
How Heart Catheterization Works
During a cardiac catheterization, a catheter (thin plastic tube) is inserted into an artery in the groin, and then threaded up through the aorta to the heart. The catheter can be used to inject x-ray dye into the coronary arteries that supply the heart. An x-ray machine is used to take pictures of the dye inside the coronary arteries. This procedure is referred to as coronary angiography. Using these procedures doctors can detecting narrowing or obstruction of the coronary arteries.
Heart Attack Thallium Stress Test
Thallium stress testing is an effective tool for evaluating the patient with possible heart attack.
How Thallium Stress Testing Works
The thallium stress test identifies areas of the heart muscle that receive reduced blood flow from narrowed or blocked coronary arteries. During the test, thallium is injected into the bloodstream. Heart muscle cells collect the thallium in the bloodstream. If blood flow is reduced through one of the coronary arteries, then the muscle cells that are supplied by that artery do not collect as much thallium as muscle cells that receive normal blood flow. A special camera is used to detect thallium in the heart muscle and a computer constructs images of the heart. The images show areas that receive reduced blood flow.
Continue to Heart Attack Treatment
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