Getting A Diagnosis


Coronary heart disease (CHD) is usually diagnosed after a risk assessment and some further tests.

Risk assessment

If a GP thinks you may be at risk of CHD, they may do a risk assessment for cardiovascular disease, heart attack or stroke.  This may be carried out as part of an NHS Health Check.

The GP will:

  • ask about your medical and family history
  • check your blood pressure
  • do a blood test to assess your cholesterol level

Before having the cholesterol test, you may be asked not to eat for 12 hours so there's no food in your body that could affect the result.

The GP or practice nurse can carry out the blood test. A sample will be taken either using a needle and a syringe or by pricking your finger. The GP will also ask about your lifestyle, how much exercise you do and whether you smoke. All these factors will be considered as part of the diagnosis.

Further tests

You may be referred for further tests to help confirm CHD. A number of different tests are used to diagnose heart-related problems, including:

  • electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • exercise stress tests
  • X-rays
  • echocardiogram
  • blood tests
  • coronary angiography
  • radionuclide tests
  • MRI scans
  • CT scans

Further information