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INITIAL EVALUATION: The cardiac work up of a person with suspected heart disease is most commonly initiated in a physician´s office, a clinic, or an Emergency Room. It begins with an interview during which the physician asks a series of questions about the patient's symptoms or complaints. This is known as the History of Illness. Following this, the patient undergoes a Physical Exam as the physician proceeds with an examination. If the suspicion of heart disease is extremely small, no further steps are take. However, tests are ordered to exclude or make a diagnosis of specific heart disease if there is suspicion of significant heart disease.

Based upon these two very important portions of the cardiac evaluation, the healthcare provider makes up a list of possible conditions that could have resulted in the patients symptoms and signs demonstrated by the physical examination. This is known as the differential diagnosis. To help diagnose or exclude the various conditions that make up the differential diagnosis, the healthcare provider may then order a series of tests.

Three of the commonest tests obtained in the early or initial phase of evaluation are an EKG (also known as ECG or electrocardiogram), Chest x-ray and blood tests.

Following this the physician may request or perform additional tests that are listed in the drop-down menu ("Select Test") listed above. Each test helps to confirm or exclude a specific diagnosis or disease that the physician may be suspecting.

Click on a button in the "Select Test" drop-down menu, if you desire information about a specific test.

Click here to proceed to the first step of the cardiac evaluation or the medical history. From there, you will be able to make other selections.

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This Page was Last reviewed on December 18, 2013

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