Tests and procedures that detect heart muscle damage include:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) to record electrical activity in the heart muscle. They may confirm that a heart attack has occurred. Continuous ECG monitoring (known as telemetry) allows the doctor to detect and immediately treat any unstable heart rhythms caused by the damaged heart muscle and sluggish pumping that follows a heart attack.
  • Blood tests to show an increase in heart muscle enzymes that are released from the damaged heart cells into the blood after a heart attack.
  • Chest X-rays to check the size of the heart and evaluate the lungs for fluid overload.
  • Echocardiogram to evaluate the heart’s pumping function and the heart valves.
  • Nuclear Scan to determine if the heart muscle is irreversibly damaged or may be improved by restoring blood flow.
  • Cardiac catheterization to assess the coronary arteries and the extent of injury.