Heart and Vascular Center

Diagnosis

After you have described your symptoms and your physician has performed a physical examination, one of several diagnostic tests may be used to diagnose heart failure and assess your current heart health.

These diagnostic procedures may include:

  • Echocardiogram: An ultrasound of the heart that is used to evaluate the structures of the heart and its ability to pump blood.
  • Chest X-ray: used to check for congestion of the lungs and to detect an increase in the size of the heart.
  • Stress testing (stress echo or stress nuclear studies): usually done after an initial phase of treatment and helps to evaluate for blockages in the heart vessels or coronary arteries.
  • Cardiac catheterization: a procedure involving the injection of dye into the heart through a needle inserted into the groin. It is used to find out if there are blockages in the heart vessels. Devices such as a stent or angioplasty may be placed during this procedure that help to “open” the blockages.