Coronary Artery Disease Screening Tests

  • Medical Author:
    Daniel Lee Kulick, MD, FACC, FSCAI

    Dr. Kulick received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Southern California, School of Medicine. He performed his residency in internal medicine at the Harbor-University of California Los Angeles Medical Center and a fellowship in the section of cardiology at the Los Angeles County-University of Southern California Medical Center. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Cardiology.

  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

View the Heart Disease Slideshow

Quick GuideHeart Disease Pictures Slideshow: Coronary Artery Disease

Heart Disease Pictures Slideshow: Coronary Artery Disease

What is coronary artery disease?

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is atherosclerosis (plaque in artery walls) of the inner lining of the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart. A similar term, arteriosclerosis which means hardening or stiffening of the arteries is sometimes interchanged with atherosclerosis by some authors. CAD is a common form of heart disease and is a major cause of illness and death. CAD begins when hard cholesterol substances (plaques) are deposited within a coronary artery. The coronary arteries arise from the aorta, which is adjacent to the heart. The plaques narrow the internal diameter of the arteries (Figure1) which may cause a tiny clot to form which can obstruct the flow of blood to the heart muscle (Figure 2). Symptoms of CAD include:

  1. chest pain (angina pectoris) from inadequate blood flow to the heart;
  2. heart attack (acute myocardial infarction), from the sudden total blockage of a coronary artery; or
  3. sudden death, due to a fatal rhythm disturbance.
Picture of an artery clogged with cholesterol plaque
Picture of an artery clogged with cholesterol plaque
Heart Attack illustration - Coronary Artery Disease Screening Tests
Heart Attack illustration - Coronary Artery Disease Screening Tests
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/29/2015

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  • Cardiology

    Do you have coronary artery disease? Which of the tests mentioned in the article did the doctor use to diagnose you?

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  • Coronary Artery Disease Screening Tests - Symptoms

    What symptoms prompted you to seek out the doctor who diagnosed you with coronary artery disease?

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