Angiogram (angiography): A thin, flexible tube is inserted into the arteries, special dye is injected, and an X-ray shows blood flow through the arteries. Areas of narrowing or bleeding in the arteries can often be identified through angiography.
Computed tomographic angiography (CT-A scan): A CT scanner takes multiple X-rays, and a computer compiles them into detailed images of the arteries. A CT-A scan can often show narrowing or other problems in the arteries with less risk than regular angiography.
Stress test: Either with exercise or medicines, the heart is stimulated to beat rapidly. As this stress increases blood flow through the heart, narrowings in the coronary arteries may be identified through various testing techniques.
Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA scan): An MRI scanner uses a high-powered magnet and a computer to create highly detailed images of structures inside the body. MRA is a setting that allows an MRI scanner to best display images of the arteries.
Cardiac catheterization: A catheter (a thin, flexible tube) is inserted into one of the arteries in the groin and advanced into the heart. A dye that improves image contrast is injected through the catheter so that blood flow through the coronary arteries can be seen on an X-ray screen. Blockages in the arteries may then be found and treated.
Artery biopsy: A small piece of an artery is removed and examined under a microscope, usually to diagnose vasculitis. The temporal artery in the scalp is most often biopsied.