Laboratory Testing

Overview

Doctors look at lab testing as a valuable tool to diagnose, monitor and treat various health conditions. Lab testing is instrumental in detecting abnormalities in the body, including heart disease.

Services & Treatment

Blood tests are done to look for certain signs of heart disease, including:
 
Apolipoprotein A1 (Apo A1). This is the major protein in HDL, known as good cholesterol. Low levels of Apo A1 may mean you have an increased risk of early cardiovascular disease. This protein is seen more often in patients who are inactive, eat a high-fat diet and carry excess weight around their waist.

Apolipoprotein B (Apo B). This is another major protein found in cholesterol. New research suggests that Apo B may be a better marker for assessing coronary artery disease risk than LDL, known as bad cholesterol.

Fibrinogen. This 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). This indicates inflammation. Studies show that a high CRP level is linked to an increased risk for heart attack, stroke and peripheral vascular disease. Cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins) may help reduce this risk.

LDL-associated PLA2 (PLAC). This enzyme is associated with inflammation, stroke and heart attack risk.

Lipoprotein a (Lp(a)). This is a blood protein. High levels of it are linked to 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). This also indicates inflammation. High levels are linked to 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). This is a blood protein made in the heart and found in the blood. High levels of it are linked to heart attack and heart failure.

Urine Albumin/Creatinine Ratio (Ualb/Cr). This can indicate an increased risk for kidney disease, diabetes complications and cardiovascular risks. If your Ualb/Cr is elevated, it is important to reduce lipid levels, control blood pressure and diabetes.

B-type Natriuretic Peptide (BNP). This substance is secreted by the ventricles (the lower chambers of the heart) when heart failure develops or worsens. Doctors test for this to diagnose heart failure.

Lab testing can also check your electrolyte levels, which include sodium, magnesium and potassium. Abnormal electrolyte levels can help doctors detect kidney, heart and liver disease. They can also let doctors know how certain medications, especially diuretics and some heart pills, are working. Lab testing is also used to check for enzymes, which are released into the blood when cells are damaged. 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.

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