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Conditions

Diagnosis

To diagnose heart failure your doctor will review your medical history, perform a physical exam and review the results of blood tests. Other tests that your doctor will often use include:

  • Chest X-ray is a non-invasive test that takes pictures of the heart and lungs; these can help the doctor determine if there’s a problem that is causing chest pain.
  • Echocardiogram is a non-invasive test using ultrasound (sound waves) and a device called a transducer—which is placed on the surface of the chest—to create a moving picture of the heart. It shows the size and shape of the heart chambers, including any damage to the heart muscle.
  • Electrocardiogram is a simple non-invasive test that can be done in the doctor’s office using small adhesive pads called electrodes that are placed on the arms, legs, and chest. These electrodes are connected to a machine that detects and prints out the heart's electrical impulses, giving a 10-second snapshot of what the heart is doing right at that moment.
  • Heart catheterization is used to detect abnormalities of the heart valves, heart function and coronary arteries. This procedure uses a catheter (long, thin, flexible tube) that is inserted through a blood vessel in the wrist, leg, arm or neck to measure the pressure of blood in the heart chambers, take blood samples or view heart structures (using contrast dye).
  • MRI uses radio waves and a powerful magnetic field to produce detailed images of internal structures.
  • Other possible tests include: nuclear heart scan and special tests to check for coronary artery disease; valve disease; or heart arrhythmias.
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Clinical Trials May Offer Hope for Patients with Heart Failure

The Temple Heart & Vascular Institute enrolls numerous patients in clinical trials each year. Learn more about the heart failure related clinical trials that are currently offered at Temple.

Browse Clinical Trials