How is heart failure diagnosed?

Heart failure is diagnosed based on patient’s medical and family histories, a physical exam, and test results. The signs and symptoms of heart failure also are common in other conditions.

  • The cause of heart failure is evaluated such as coronary heart disease (CHD), high blood pressure, or diabetes
  • Other causes of patient’s symptoms are evaluated
  • Find any damage to patient’s heart and check how well patient’s heart pumps blood
  • Early diagnosis and treatment can help people who have heart failure live longer, more active lives.

After medical and family histories and physical exam, the patient has to undergo certain tests.  There are main 2 very simple tests that are primary – an echocardiogram and a blood test called NT-pro BNP (a hormone that rises in the blood as a response to a failing heart). The echocardiogram will measure the Ejection Fraction or EF which is a measure of how well the heart is contracting. BNP Blood Test checks the level of a hormone in patient’s blood called BNP. The level of this hormone rises during heart failure. Other tests are  ECG (Electrocardiogram), Chest X-Ray, Doppler Ultrasound, Holter Monitor, Cardiac Catheterization, Coronary Angiography, Stress Test, Cardiac MRI and  Thyroid Function Tests, which are done as and when needed.