Cardiac blood tests can give your provider insight into how well your heart is functioning. Combining this information with your medical history and your family history can help your provider determine your risk of cardiovascular disease. Some tests, like the ones that measure cholesterol, are common. Others are not as well-known.
Cardiac blood tests help your healthcare provider determine your risk of getting heart and blood vessel diseases. Your provider will consider your test results and look at your family history and your own health history to calculate your risk.
There are a number of different blood tests for heart function. They include:
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy
Your healthcare provider will order cardiac blood tests if you have heart disease, high cholesterol and/or high triglycerides or a family history of heart disease. They’ll use this information to figure out how high your risk is for a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular problems.
Cholesterol tests are common for everyone, but your provider may only order less common tests if you have multiple risk factors for cardiovascular disease. More information will give your provider a better understanding of your cardiovascular risk.
Your primary care provider may order blood tests to check your cholesterol. However, your cardiologist, a provider who specializes in heart care, will most likely be the one who orders blood tests for heart function. You’ll need to go to another provider who can collect a sample of your blood for analysis in a lab.
If your healthcare provider asks you to fast, don’t eat or drink anything except water for nine to 12 hours before your blood draw appointment. It’s important to drink enough water to stay hydrated, though. This can make it easier for your provider to find your vein and get a blood sample, which makes it more comfortable for you. Many people like to schedule their lab appointment for first thing in the morning because it’s easier to fast while you’re sleeping.
You’ll check in at the medical office or lab that draws blood for testing. Some places require appointments, while others work on a first-come, first-served basis. The person collecting your blood sample may ask you if you’ve been fasting for nine to 12 hours, which means having nothing but water during that time.
Now that your skin is clean and ready, your provider will put a needle into a vein in your arm. This is usually very quick. You’ll feel the needle go into your skin as if someone were sticking a pin in it. Some people find it easier to look away for this part.
The blood will flow into a tube that a lab will receive. Your provider will remove the stretchy band and take the needle out of your arm. Then they’ll put a bandage on the area where the needle went into your skin. It might hurt a little bit in this area.
You’re free to go home once your provider places a bandage on your arm. You can go back to eating and drinking normally.
Compare your results to these normal numbers:
If your cardiac blood test results aren’t at ideal levels, your healthcare provider may want you to make some changes to your lifestyle, such as:
You may also need to start taking medicines (like medicines to lower your cholesterol, for example) if your provider decides you need them to prevent heart disease.
Although lab processing times vary by location, you’ll most likely get your results within a couple of days.
Contact your provider if you haven’t received results in a week or if you don’t understand what your results mean.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Modern medicine gives healthcare providers ways to learn about your cardiovascular risks such as with cardiac blood tests. Once they know your risk of heart attack and stroke, they can work with you on a plan to help you. Making healthy changes to how you live can go a long way toward bringing down your risk of heart disease.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/26/2021.
Learn more about our editorial process.