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

2-minute read

If coronary heart disease is being considered as a possibility, your doctor will ask about your medical and family history, check your blood pressure and do a blood test to assess your cholesterol level.

They 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 test'

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 illustrates 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 stress test, also referred to as 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.

An echocardiogram can also be done straight after exercising, referred to as a 'stress echocardiogram'.

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.

Last reviewed: December 2017

Recommended links

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 60 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 CHD | The Heart Foundation

The most common cause of a heart attack is coronary heart disease. Plaque has built up in your arteries, cracks and leads to a blood clot forming.

Read more on Heart Foundation website

Cardiac risk assessment - Lab Tests Online AU

This is a group of tests and health facts that are used to assess your chance of having aheart attack

Read more on Lab Tests Online 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

Coronary angiogram - Better Health Channel

A coronary angiogram is the most accurate diagnostic test for a range of heart problems, including coronary heart disease.

Read more on Better Health Channel 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

Exercise stress test (fitness test) information | myVMC

A stress test is a physical fitness test that measures the lung, blood vessel and heart response to exercise, which places stress on the heart.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Exercise stress testing - myDr.com.au

Exercise stress testing assesses the performance and capacity of the heart during exercise and is used to help diagnose or investigate heart disease.

Read more on myDr website

Familial hypercholesterolaemia

Familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) is an inherited disorder in which the livers ability to remove low-density lipoprotein (LDL) commonly known as bad cholesterol from the blood is impaired, causing an elevated overall blood cholesterol level. Without early detection and treatment people with FH are at increased risk of premature coronary artery disease, heart attack and early death.

Read more on WA Health website

Arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms)

Arrhythmia is when you have an abnormal heart rhythm and heart palpitations are an awareness of your heartbeat.

Read more on WA Health 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