Screening and Diagnosing Heart Valve Problems

Screening Tests

These tests help in diagnosing heart valve problems:

  • Chest X-ray
    A chest x-ray helps your doctor learn what type of valve disease you may have, how severe it is and if you have any other heart problems.
  • Electrocardiogram
    An electrocardiogram (EKG) monitors your heart’s electrical activity. It can detect an irregular heartbeat and signs of a prior heart attack. It can also show if your heart’s chambers are enlarged.

If these tests indicate that you may have heart valve disease, your doctor will perform an echocardiogram (echo). An echo uses sound waves to create a moving picture of your heart. The test shows the size and shape of your heart. It also shows how well your heart chambers and valves are working. The results of an echo will confirm the diagnosis.

Other Tests and Procedures

If you are diagnosed with heart valve disease, your doctor may recommend other tests and procedures. They help your doctor learn about your condition and plan your treatment. They may include:

  • Cardiac Catheterization
    During this procedure, a catheter is inserted into a large blood vessel that leads to your heart. This can show if your symptoms are caused by a specific valve problems or coronary heart disease.
  • Cardiac MRI
    This test uses magnetic and radio waves to make detailed images of your heart. It can give your doctor more detailed information about your heart valve problems.
  • Stress Test
    During this test, you exercise on a treadmill or a stationary cycle. Your doctor performs tests and imaging as you increase your heart rate. A stress test helps your doctor determine how severe your heart valve disease may be.

Find a Physician

Find a physician online or call 215-345-2121 (Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.) to speak with a referral counselor.