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Atherosclerosis Diagnosis Causes Treatment

Atherosclerosis usually does not cause symptoms until its complications occur. Diagnostic methods include:

  • Ankle/brachial index (ABI), which compares the blood pressure in the ankle with the blood pressure in the arm.
  • Echocardiogram. This test uses sound waves to create a moving picture of the heart. Echocardiogram provides information about the size and shape of the heart and how well the heart chambers and valves are functioning. The test also can identify areas of poor blood flow to the heart, areas of heart muscle that are not contracting normally, and previous injury to the heart muscle caused by poor blood flow.
  • CT scan, which provides computer-generated images of the heart, brain, or other areas of interest.
  • Angiography. A test that allows the doctor to look inside arteries to see if there is any blockage and how much. A thin flexible tube is passed through an artery in the upper leg (groin) or in the arm to reach the arteries that may be blocked. A dye that can be seen on x ray is injected into the arteries. Using an x ray, the doctor can see the flow of blood through your arteries.
  • Stress Test. Some heart problems are easier to diagnose when your heart is working harder and beating faster than when it’s at rest. During stress testing, you exercise (or are given medicine if you are unable to exercise) to make your heart work harder and beat faster while heart tests are performed.