HEART ATTACK (Part 3) - DIAGNOSIS & TESTS

Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD wrote a very informative article on one of the major causes of death in our society today – heart disease.

This is imperative information that could help you, or a family member, so please take the time to read it.  It has been partitioned into 5 parts for your reading convenience. Here is what she said in her article.

Diagnosis and Tests  

Diagnosis

If you think you are having a heart attack, call 911 immediately. You need emergency medical care.

Tests may include:

Blood Tests – to look for certain enzymes found in the blood within hours or days after a heart attack. Blood tests will be repeated every 6-8 hours to track the enzymes’ progressive elevation that indicates heart muscle damage.

 Urine Tests – to look for certain substances found in the urine within hours or days after a heart attack

 Electrocardiogram (EKG) – records the heart’s activity by measuring electrical currents through the heart muscle. Certain abnormalities in the EKG occur when there is significant blockage of the coronary arteries and/or damage to the heart muscle. The EKG will be repeated to track the progression of these changes.

Echocardiogram – uses high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to examine the size, shape, function, and motion of the heart

 Stress Test – records the heart’s electrical activity under increased physical demand. A stress test can also be combined with an echocardiography. Patients who cannot exercise may be given a medication intravenously that simulates the effects of physical exertion. A stress test is done usually days or weeks after the heart attack.

Nuclear Scanning – Radioactive material (such as thalium) is injected into a vein and observed as it is absorbed by the heart muscle. Areas with diminished flow, and therefore uptake of the radioactive material, show up as dark spots on the scan.

Electron-beam CT scan (coronary calcium scan, heart scan, CT angiography ) – a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make detailed pictures of the heart, coronary arteries, and surrounding structures. This type of CT scan measures the amount of calcium deposits in the coronary arteries, and based on that and other health information, attempts to determines the risk of heart disease, including heart attacks. The American Heart Association (AHA) published guidelines in 2006 indicating that heart scans are not for everyone and those most likely to benefit from the procedure are patients at intermediate risk of coronary artery disease.

Coronary Angiography – X-rays are taken after a dye is injected into the arteries to look for abnormalities (narrowing, blockage) in the coronary arteries.

You can read the other 4 parts of the article at:

Heart Attack (Part 1) - Myocardial Infarction - Causes & Risk Factors
Heart Attack (Part 2) - Symptoms
Heart Attack (Part 4) - Treatment & Surgery
Heart Attack (Part 5) - Preventive Measures

 You can get more information on heart disease




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