Diagnosing Coronary Heart Disease

What is Coronary Heart Disease?

Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) occurs when a waxy substance called plaque builds up in your arteries over the years, blocking or narrowing the crucial supply of blood to your heart.

(CHD) is the most common form of heart disease. It's also the country's leading cause of death for both men and women. Fortunately, there are many effective treatments for CHD.

There are many terms for Coronary Heart Disease. Other names include:

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Heart Disease
  • Ischemic Heart Disease


  • Major Risk Factors for
    Coronary Heart Disease
  • Reasons Coronary Heart Disease
    is a Problem
  • Symptoms of
    Coronary Heart Disease
  • Diagnosing
    Coronary Heart Disease

Major Risk Factors for Coronary Heart Disease

Older age and family history are risk factors, but they don't mean you'll necessarily develop CHD. Controlling key risk factors can often lessen genetic influences and help prevent CHD, even in older adults. These risk factors include:

  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Insulin resistance
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Older age
  • Family history of early heart disease
Treatments for CHD

Reasons Coronary Heart Disease is a Problem

If your heart's blood flow is blocked or reduced because of CHD, angina or a heart attack can occur.

  • Angina is chest pain or discomfort. It may feel like pressure or squeezing in your chest, though the pain can also occur in your shoulders, arms, neck, jaw or back. It may even feel like indigestion.
  • Heart attacks occur when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a section of your heart is cut off. If the flow isn't restored quickly, your heart muscle is damaged, leading to health problems and possibly death.

Over time, CHD can also cause arrhythmias – abnormal heartbeat rates or rhythms – or heart failure, where your heart can't pump enough blood to meet your body's needs.

Treatments for CHD

Symptoms of Coronary Heart Disease

Some people with Coronary Heart Disease have no signs or symptoms – a condition called Silent CHD. The disease might not be diagnosed until a heart attack, heart failure or an arrhythmia occurs.

For others, chest pain (angina) or shortness of breath can provide a clue that CHD is present.

Treatments for CHD

Diagnosing Coronary Heart Disease

Your doctor will diagnose CHD based on your medical and family histories, your risk factors, a physical exam, and the results of tests and procedures. No single test can diagnose CHD, so your doctor may recommend one or more of the following:

  • EKG (Electrocardiogram): a simple, painless test that detects and records your heart's electrical activity.
  • Stress testing: exercise to make your heart work hard and beat fast, or medicine to raise your heart rate if physical activity isn't possible.
  • Echocardiography: using sound waves to create a moving picture of your heart.
  • Chest X-ray: taking pictures of the organs and structures inside your chest, such as your heart, lungs and blood vessels.
  • Blood tests: checking the levels of certain fats, cholesterol, sugars and proteins in your blood.
  • Coronary angiography and cardiac catheterization: threading a catheter (flexible tube) into your blood vessel to inject a dye for special
    X-rays of your coronary arteries and blood flow. The procedure is ordered once other tests or factors show that you're likely to have CHD.

If CHD is diagnosed, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, bypass surgery or angioplasty. At Corindus, we've developed the robot-assisted CorPath® System to help doctors perform angioplasty with unparalled precision and control. Find out how CorPath works.

Treatments for CHD


Disclaimer: This content is reviewed periodically and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. Corindus Vascular Robotics has used reasonable care in compiling the information but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. A physician must always rely on his or her own professional clinical judgment when deciding whether to use a particular product when treating a particular patient. Corindus Vascular Robotics does not dispense medical advice and recommends that physicians be trained in the use of any particular product before using it in a patient procedure. Always refer to the package insert, product label and/or instructions for use before using any medical product. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Patients should always seek the advice of their physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting or undergoing any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.