Coronary heart disease may vary in its course and even become chronic. Early diagnosis is therefore all the more important and can be life-saving.
Course of coronary heart disease
In the case of coronary heart disease, there are very different progressions in individual cases:
- If the first symptom of coronary heart disease is a heart attack and is survived, the further course depends crucially on the extent to which one succeeds in getting the individual risk factors under control.
- If coronary heart disease is expressed primarily as angina pectoris in varying degrees, effective countermeasures may possibly be initiated in the early stages of a heart attack.
However, despite optimal treatment, every patient with coronary heart disease is at an incalculable risk of being affected by myocardial infarction, serious cardiac arrhythmia, or heart failure, which can severely limit life expectancy.
Serious complications possible
The most serious complication of coronary heart disease is the heart attack, which still kills many people before reaching a hospital. In the context of a heart attack, all possible forms of cardiac arrhythmias but also circulatory heart valve damage can occur. In some cases, arrhythmia with no previous warning symptoms may be the first and potentially fatal event of coronary heart disease.
In the chronic course of coronary heart disease after an expired heart attack, cardiac insufficiency and recurrent, malignant cardiac arrhythmias are in the foreground of possible complications.
Diagnosis of coronary heart disease
For the early diagnosis of coronary heart disease, the doctor will first ask the patient exactly about the symptoms and the other medical history. A physical examination as well as pulse and blood pressure measurement follow.
Particularly important are the electrocardiogram (ECG) and the ultrasound examination of the heart. Especially through stress examinations such as exercise ECG, exercise ultrasound examination or so-called thallium scintigraphy, symptoms of coronary heart disease can be provoked and documented under medical supervision.
Unfortunately, there is no 100% success rate of these examination procedures, so that in some cases, the early, sometimes life-saving diagnosis of coronary heart disease can not be asked. However, if coronary heart disease is suspected, only the direct visualization of the coronary arteries and their possible constrictions as part of a cardiac catheterization can secure the diagnosis and provide the basis for an effective treatment plan.