Laboratory Testing

Treating Cardiovascular Diseases in Wisconsin and Northern Illinois

Doctors view lab testing as an invaluable tool when diagnosing, monitoring and treating various health conditions. Laboratory testing can detect abnormalities in the body, including heart disease.

Laboratory Testing for Heart Disease

Signs and symptoms of coronary artery disease include abnormal levels of the following substances:

  • Apolipoprotein A1 (Apo A1) is the major protein of HDL, known as good cholesterol. Low levels of Apo A1 are associated with an increased risk of early cardiovascular disease. This protein is seen more often in patients who are inactive, have a high-fat diet and excess weight around their waist.
  • Apolipoprotein B (Apo B) is a major protein found in cholesterol. New research suggests Apo B may be a better marker for assessing coronary artery disease risk than LDL, known as bad cholesterol.
  • Fibrinogen is a protein found in the blood that encourages blood clotting. High levels of this protein are linked to an increased risk for heart attack and vascular disease.
  • High Sensitivity C-reactive Protein (hsCRP) indicates inflammation. Studies show elevated CRP can indicate an increased risk for heart attack, stroke and peripheral vascular disease. Statins can help reduce this risk.
  • LDL-associated PLA2 (PLAC) measures the level of a certain enzyme associated with inflammation, stroke and heart attack risk.
  • Lipoprotein a (Lp(a)) is a blood protein. High levels of this protein are associated with a higher risk of heart attack and stroke. Lp(a) is also related to the development of fatty matter in vein grafts after bypass surgery, narrowing of coronary arteries after angioplasty and an increased risk for developing blood clots.
  • Myeloperoxidase (MPO) indicates inflammation. High levels are associated with an increased risk of heart attack. Reducing LDL, improving diet, increasing activity and adding low-dose aspirin therapy can help reduce this risk.
  •  N-terminal-pro-B-type Natiuretic Peptide (NT-proBNP) is a blood protein made in the heart and found in the blood. High levels are associated with heart attack and heart failure.
  • Urine Albumin/Creatinine Ratio (Ualb/Cr) can indicate an increased risk for kidney disease, diabetes complications and cardiovascular risks. If your Ualb/Cr iselevated, it is important to reduce lipid levels, control blood pressure and diabetes.

To check for heart failure, doctors use lab testing to look for B-type Natriuretic Peptide (BNP), a substance that’s secreted by the ventricles (the lower chambers of the heart) when heart failure develops or worsens.

To check for inflammation (swelling) of the arteries, doctors use lab testingto check for High Sensitivity C-reactive Protein (HS-CRP). When this protein is found in the blood, it indicates a heightened state of inflammation in the body, which has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, heart attack, sudden death, stroke, peripheral arterial disease and restenosis, which is the re-closing of an artery that has been treated with balloon angioplasty.

Lab testing can also check your electrolytes, which include sodium, magnesium and potassium. Abnormal electrolyte levels can help doctors detect kidney, heart and liver disease. They can also inform doctors on the effects of certain medications, especially diuretics and some heart pills.

Laboratory testing can check for enzymes. When cells are damaged, enzymes are released into the bloodstream. Some enzymes, such as creatine kinase (CK), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and Troponin T (cTNT), are very helpful in detecting heart muscle damage, caused by a heart attack. 

Lipid blood tests provide doctors with information on your cholesterol levels (good and bad), which are directly linked to heart and blood vessel disease.

Lab testing can also detect waste products in the blood. The urine albumin creatinine ratio (U Alb: Cr) measures whether there is protein in the urine, which is a risk factor for heart and blood vessel disease. 

Leading Midwest Cardiovascular Program

Aurora is known for providing one of the best cardiovascular programs in the United States. Our coordinated care includes access to outstanding doctors and services for preventing, diagnosing and treating heart conditions and disorders. We also offer a full-service rehab program to ensure your optimal recovery.

We also have the largest cardiac teaching program in Wisconsin, which puts us in a unique position to access the most recent technologies for diagnosing and treating heart disease.

Our doctors are conveniently located throughout eastern Wisconsin and northeastern Illinois. Find a doctor or heart specialist near you. To get a second opinion or if you need assistance finding a provider, please call 888-649-6892.