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Diagnosis - How Heart Failure is Diagnosed

To diagnose heart failure, your doctor will first ask you questions about your symptoms and medical history. Your doctor will want to know:

  • If you have any other health conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, angina (chest pain), high blood pressure, high cholesterol, coronary artery disease, or other heart problems
  • If you have a family history of heart disease or sudden death
  • If you smoke or use tobacco
  • If you drink alcohol and how much you drink
  • If you have been treated with chemotherapy and/or radiation
  • What medications you are taking

Your doctor will perform a complete physical exam. Your doctor will look for signs of heart failure as well as any other illnesses that may have caused your heart muscle to weaken or stiffen.

Tests performed to diagnose heart failure

Certain tests can help your doctor determine the cause and severity of heart failure. Your doctor will tell you which of these tests you should have:

Leads on the body for an EKG

Leads on the body for an EKG

Other tests may be ordered by your doctor, depending on your condition.


Reviewed on: 4/09/2013…#8117

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This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

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