What is the purpose of cardiac testing?

Updated: Nov 20, 2018
  • Author: Richard S Krause, MD; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
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There are an increasing number and type of cardiac tests used to help stratify patients thought to be at risk for symptomatic coronary artery disease (CAD), specifically for short-term complications such as myocardial infarction (MI) or sudden cardiac death. Increasingly, due to changes in the  clinical practice environment, emergency healthcare providers are ordering these tests and using the results for clinical decision making.

The image below depicts Wellens syndrome, a preinfarction stage of CAD that often progresses to a devastating anterior wall MI.

Classic Wellens syndrome T-wave changes. This ECG Classic Wellens syndrome T-wave changes. This ECG represents a patient after becoming pain free secondary to medications. Notice the deep T waves in V3-V5 and slight biphasic T wave in V6 in this chest pain free ECG. The patient had negative cardiac enzyme levels and later had a stent placed in the proximal left anterior descending (LAD) artery.

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