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