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Diagnosis of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
by Michelle Badash, MS
Suspicion of CAD may be based on your medical history and symptoms such as chest pain with exertion. A complete physical exam will be done to look for other signs of CAD. Diagnosis is often made by assessing the results of several tests. Tests can also eliminate other health conditions with symptoms similar to CAD. In some people, CAD is found by chance during a regular physical exam.
The most accurate way to diagnose CAD is with coronary angiography and catheterization. During this procedure, a thin tube is threaded to the coronary artery where a dye is released. The dye shows the location of blockages in the coronary arteries.
Other tests that may detect changes in blood flow include:
Some tests may detect heart damage or other health conditions. These may include:
Blood tests may also be done to look for risk factors for CAD such as:
Blood tests may also be done to look for related conditions such as kidney or liver disease.
C-reactive protein (CRP) and other biomarkers as cardiac risk factors. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated February 25, 2016. Accessed March 5, 2018.
Coronary artery disease (CAD). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated February 28, 2018. Accessed March 5, 2018.
Coronary heart disease. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/coronary-heart-disease. Accessed March 5, 2018.
Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). American Heart Association website. Available at:
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Updated September 19, 2016. Accessed March 5, 2018.
Last reviewed March 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC
Last Updated: 3/15/2015
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