Heart Failure

Exams and Tests


Heart failure is usually detected after a review of your full medical history, a physical exam and results from blood and/or cardiac imaging tests. Many patients first learn they have heart failure after going to the emergency room or hospital with symptoms, often shortness of breath with or without swelling. 

Blood and/or imaging tests are used to assess any damage to your heart and to check how well it pumps blood. Your doctor may decide to order:


Many of these tests may be repeated over time to determine if your heart function is the same, better or worse with treatment.


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Published: October 2015; updated 9/16/2016
Medical Reviewer: David E. Lanfear, MD, MS, FACC, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, MI

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