Diagnostic Tests for Atherosclerosis: What to Expect


Plaque buildup hardens and constricts arteries, causing atherosclerosis, a potentially deadly cardiovascular condition. Secondly, Early atherosclerosis examination may prevent heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular issues. Therefore, this article will describe atherosclerosis diagnostic techniques and what to expect.

Atheroclerosis Identification Reason

Atherosclerosis frequently develops slowly over years without symptoms. Angina, claudication, and dyspnea may occur as the illness progresses and artery blockages grow. Atherosclerosis may be unrecognizable until a deadly event. Thus, early detection is crucial for prevention and management.

Common Atherosclerosis Tests

Physical Checkup

Your doctor may listen to your heart during a routine physical check for carotid artery bruits, which may indicate atherosclerosis. Physical exams cannot definitively diagnose atherosclerosis.

A medical history

Firstly, the doctor will ask about your health history, including diabetes, hypertension, smoking, and excessive cholesterol. Therefore, a detailed medical history may help identify atherosclerosis risk.

Chest X-ray

A chest X-ray may assess heart and lung size, shape, and health. While it cannot diagnose atherosclerosis, it may identify cardiac abnormalities.

Assessing Stress

Stress tests measure the heart’s response to physical or chemical stress. Secondly, these include pharmacologic and exercise stress tests. They may help diagnose atherosclerosis-related reduced cardiac blood flow.


Echocardiography uses sound waves to image the heart and arteries. Therefore, it can assess heart composition and function and detect atherosclerotic irregularities.

Carotid Ultrasound

This non-invasive imaging method uses high-frequency sound waves to image the neck’s carotid arteries. Therefore, it can detect plaque and assess stenotic artery narrowing.

Test for PAD

Ankle-brachial index (ABI) and segmental pressure evaluations monitor blood flow in the arms and legs to determine peripheral artery disease, which is typically in connection to atherosclerosis.

CT Angiography

Contrast dye is injected into the circulation during CT angiography, followed by accurate X-rays of the arteries. Therefore, it may show the peripheral, carotid, or coronary arteries to assess plaque buildup.

MRA is magnetic resonance imaging.

MRA uses radio waves and magnetic fields to image blood vessels. In brief, it helps diagnose atherosclerosis by viewing arteries and blood flow.

Coronary Angiography

Invasive coronary angiography includes injecting contrast dye into the coronary arteries and imaging using X-rays. Nevertheless, the gold standard for evaluating coronary artery disease, a kind of atherosclerosis, and finding blockages.

Intravascular ultrasound

IVUS imaging is utilized during coronary angiography. Therefore, a tiny ultrasonography probe must be placed into the coronary arteries to measure plaque thickness and content.

Assessing Stress

An exercise stress test tracks your heart rate, blood pressure, and ECG while you ride a stationary bike or walk on a treadmill. Pharmacologic stress testing may use exercise-like drugs.


While lying on a table, a technician will apply gel to your chest and take cardiac scans using a transducer. It is a painless procedure.

Carotid Ultrasound

A technician will use a transducer to photograph your carotid arteries on your neck. The exam is painless and non-invasive.

CT and MRA Angiography

You may need to fast for several hours before the exam. You might be given contrast dye intravenously and put on a CT or MRI table.

Coronary Angiography

A cardiac catheterization lab is usually useful for this. A catheter entersvia a wrist or groin blood artery to reach the coronary arteries. While taking X-rays, the catheter injects contrast dye.


Atherosclerosis is diagnosed using many assays, risk assessment, and clinical examination. Early detection and examination are essential. It is important for preventing heart attacks, and other cardiovascular problems. You should have atherosclerosis or its symptoms.

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