Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Diagnosis of coronary heart disease

Your doctor will ask about your medical and family history, check your blood pressure and do a blood test to assess your cholesterol level.

Your doctor will also ask about your lifestyle, how much exercise you do and whether you smoke. All these factors will be considered as part of the diagnosis.

Many people don't know they have coronary heart disease (CHD) until they have angina or a heart attack.

However, if your doctor thinks you are at risk of developing CHD, they may arrange a number of tests (see below) to check your heart health and determine what treatments you may need.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners recommends that if you are concerned about cardiovascular disease but have no symptoms talk to your doctor or specialist about whether the benefits will outweigh the risks involved with specific testing for heart disease or stroke. For further information, visit the Choosing Wisely Australia website.

Electrocardiogram (ECG) and/or 'stress ECG'

During an ECG test, electrical leads are placed on your chest, arms and legs. These leads detect small electrical signals and produce a tracing on graph paper that illustrate the electrical impulses travelling through the heart muscle. Sometimes, an additional ECG test is done while you are exercising on an exercise bike or treadmill. This is known as an 'exercise ECG' or 'stress ECG' (also called a 'stress test').

Echocardiogram

An echocardiogram uses ultrasound waves to produce a picture of your heart as it beats. This lets your doctor see the structure of your heart and how well it is working.

Angiogram

This is a special X-ray that shows whether or not your coronary arteries are narrowed or blocked. Under a local anaesthetic, a small tube (catheter) is inserted into an artery in your arm or groin and guided into the heart. Dye is injected through the catheter into the coronary arteries and X-rays are taken. The X-rays give detailed information about the condition of these arteries.

For more information you can go to www.heartfoundation.org.au.

Sources: heart foundation (Cardiovascular conditions), NHS Choices, UK (Coronary heart disease) Choosing Wisely Australia Choosing Wisely recommendations)

Last reviewed: August 2015

Recommended links

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 135 results

Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) | myVMC

Coronary heart disease is caused by narrowing of the blood vessels of the heart, particularly the coronary artery. It is a leading cause of death.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Coronary heart disease

The underlying cause of coronary heart disease is a slow build up of fatty deposits on the inner wall of the blood vessels that supply the heart muscle with blood (the coronary arteries).

Read more on WA Health website

Cardiac rehabilitation

Cardiac rehabilitation is a professionally supervised program usually lasting between 610 weeks to help support you with managing your coronary heart disease or other heart problems.

Read more on WA Health website

Hypercholesterolaemia | myVMC

Hypercholesterolemia is defined as elevated blood cholesterol levels. Cholesterol can clog arteries and lead to coronary heart disease and other conditions.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Coronary angiography - myDr.com.au

Coronary angiography allows doctors to obtain vital information about the severity and position of any narrowing in the arteries of the heart.

Read more on myDr website

CT Coronary Angiography (CTCA) - InsideRadiology

InsideRadiology provides free and easily accessible, accurate, up to date and credible information about medical imaging tests and procedures.

Read more on InsideRadiology website

Kawasaki Disease | myVMC

Kawasaki disease is currently the most common cause of acquired heart disease in children in developed countries

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death and disease burden in Australia. The number of people living with cardiovascular disease is increasing due to factors including population ageing and improved treatments that have resulted in people living longer with CVD.

Read more on Department of Health website

Heart Failure | myVMC

Heart failure, in simple terms, is when the heart fails to maintain an adequate circulation of blood around the body, owing to a defect in the hearts pumping action

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Congestive Heart Failure | myVMC

Congestive heart failure is characterised by the heart not being able to pump enough blood around the body. It affects 13% of Australians over 65.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo
Feedback