Home Heart Test and Treatment 13 Common Heart Tests and When You Need Them

13 Common Heart Tests and When You Need Them

13 Common heart tests and when you need them

Your heart beats tirelessly, day and night—but how well do you know its health? In a busy 9-5 schedule or fast-paced life, it’s easy to overlook this vital organ until something goes wrong. Yet, understanding your heart health is crucial, especially as you age or if heart disease runs in your family.

Modern medicine offers an array of tools to peek into the inner workings of your heart, from simple stethoscope checks to advanced imaging techniques. You might already be familiar with some of these tests, while others could be new territory.

In this guide, we explore common heart tests and screenings, their purposes, when they are needed, and what each of these tests reveal about your heart’s health.

Pro Tip: If you experience sudden and severe chest pain, seek medical attention immediately. At ER of Mesquite, our dedicated team offers specialized, life-saving heart attack treatment in Mesquite, TX, and the surrounding areas.

Basic Common Heart Tests 

To evaluate the general health of your heart, your physician begins with a few essential tests if you have risk factors for heart disease.

Blood Pressure

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, can lead to heart disease. Your primary care provider measures your blood pressure during your yearly checkups. If it’s high, you may need to wear a blood pressure monitor for 24 hours to track your blood pressure and heart rate throughout the day. 

Blood Tests

These tests evaluate your red and white blood cell counts, blood sugar (glucose), cholesterol, and the function of your kidneys, liver, and thyroid. Your blood can also be tested for proteins and hormones that might indicate heart issues.

These tests are conducted to identify early signs of heart disease and to monitor risk factors that could escalate into more serious conditions. If these tests indicate potential heart disease, your provider may suggest more extensive heart health evaluations.

Coronary Imaging Tests

Medical imaging enables providers to see inside your coronary arteries and heart muscle. To make a thorough diagnosis, your provider might need different images of your heart.

Imaging tests may involve one or more of the following:

Cardiac CT Scan

A CT (computed tomography) scan generates 3D images of your heart and blood vessels. These images help your provider identify coronary artery disease, arterial blockages, heart function issues, or conditions affecting the heart’s surrounding membrane.

Cardiac MRI

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) uses magnets and radio waves to capture images of your heart and surrounding areas. These images assist your provider in diagnosing heart disease, heart valve problems like aortic stenosis, tumors, and damage from a heart attack.

Chest X-ray

A digital X-ray doesn’t reveal the inner workings of your heart but can detect signs of heart failure and other issues like lung disease that affect heart function.


Using electrodes and sound waves, an echocardiogram creates a moving image of your heart. This test assesses how well your heart chambers and valves pump blood.

Myocardial Perfusion Scans

This procedure, also known as a nuclear stress test, involves injecting a small amount of radioactive material into your circulation and allowing it to accumulate in your heart. A specialized camera then photographs your heart at rest and during exercise in order to analyze blood flow via your arteries to the heart muscle, exposing clogged arteries or scar tissue from a previous heart attack.

Imaging tests for the heart are essential for diagnosing and monitoring heart conditions based on symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or palpitations, assessing heart health during routine check-ups, and guiding treatment decisions to prevent complications.

Non Invasive Heart Tests 

While heart imaging doesn’t reveal every possible issue, the following heart tests diagnose specific conditions:


An electrocardiogram, also known as an EKG or ECG, captures the electrical signals of your heart and assesses its rhythm. Electrodes placed on your chest indicate whether your heart beats regularly or displays signs of arrhythmia, heart failure, or heart attack.

Exercise Stress Test

An exercise stress test evaluates how well your heart functions during physical activity. Depending on the situation, you may also undergo an EKG, echocardiogram, or myocardial perfusion scan simultaneously. Besides diagnosing potential coronary artery disease, a stress test helps determine a safe level of exercise for you.

Holter Monitoring 

It involves wearing a portable ECG device for 24 to 48 hours while carrying out your regular activities. It offers your healthcare provider a better understanding of your heart rhythm during varying levels of activity and rest.

Tilt Table Testing

It assesses whether episodes of dizziness or fainting are related to heart conditions. You lie flat on a specialized table that slowly raises you to a standing position and then lowers you back down. Throughout this procedure, healthcare providers monitor changes in your blood pressure and heart rate.

These tests are conducted based on symptoms such as chest pain, palpitations, dizziness, or fainting spells. They diagnose specific heart conditions like arrhythmias, coronary artery disease, and monitor heart function during physical activity or daily routines.

Minimally Invasive Heart Tests

Some patients do not provide enough information through imaging and heart monitoring alone for doctors to fully comprehend their heart conditions. Consequently, additional tests are sometimes necessary to achieve a complete diagnosis of arterial blockage or other heart issues.

Heart catheterization

In this procedure, a thin, long tube called a catheter is inserted into your arm, groin, or neck. The doctor uses imaging to guide the catheter to your heart, where they perform a minimally invasive procedure or an angiogram.

Coronary Angiogram

In a coronary angiogram, a cardiac catheter introduces contrast dye into your arteries. X-ray images reveal arterial blockages and other possible reasons for restricted blood flow. If blockages are present, an interventional cardiologist performs angioplasty to open the arteries.

Key Takeaway

Regular visits to your primary care physician or cardiologist are essential for getting the right tests at the right times. This proactive approach can help you prevent heart disease, manage chronic conditions, detect heart problems early, and enhance your overall health and well-being

If you’re ready to start but aren’t sure what to do next, reach out to the ER of Mesquite. We are your reliable emergency room facility in Mesquite, Texas, and nearby areas, offering urgent and life-saving treatment for heart attacks. We understand the critical nature of heart attacks and the need for swift medical care. Our skilled team of healthcare professionals is dedicated to providing rapid, effective, and specialized care when every moment matters.


What is the best test to check for heart problems?

The Coronary Calcium Scan, also called a coronary artery calcium (CAC) scan, assesses heart health using CT imaging to detect calcium deposits in the coronary arteries. These deposits indicate atherosclerosis, a condition linked to coronary artery disease. However, because it is relatively new, it is not included in standard guidelines for heart screenings, and not all insurance plans cover it.

What is the main test of the heart?

The main test for evaluating heart health is the electrocardiogram (EKG/ECG), which records the heart’s electrical activity to identify irregular rhythms and other abnormalities.

Can ECG detect heart blockage?

An ECG indicates abnormalities in the heart’s electrical activity that may suggest the presence of heart blockage.

Is my heart OK if the ECG is normal?

If your ECG indicates no abnormalities in your heart’s electrical activity, it suggests your heart is currently functioning normally. However, our doctors may advise additional tests for a comprehensive assessment of your heart’s overall health.

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