Tests and Diagnosis

Common questions
to Ask

Bring this list of questions about heart valve disease to your next appointment with your doctor, and be sure to take notes during your conversation.



Find definitions of technical terms in our glossary.

Orange icon of hand pointing at a book, representing product manuals and Instructions For Use

Learn More

about diagnostic tests from the American Heart Association.

Heart Valve Disease Tests and Diagnosis

If your doctor suspects you have heart valve disease, he or she may order a variety of tests. The earlier you receive a heart valve disease diagnosis, the more effectively you and your doctor can work together to manage your disease so that you can enjoy a longer, more active life.

Tell your doctor about your symptoms and medical history, including:

  • When your symptoms began, how often they happen, how long they last and what they feel like
  • If you have heart or lung problems, high blood pressure or thyroid dysfunction

Diagnostic tests

Your doctor may order one or more of the following tests:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), which records the heart’s electrical activity
  • Echocardiogram (ECHO), which allows your doctor to check the health of your heart muscle and valves (similar to an ultrasound)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which provides a detailed look at the inside of your heart
  • Chest X-ray, which shows a radiographic image of your heart and lungs, including size and shape
  • Cardiac catheterization, which allows your doctor to see if your heart valves are damaged and not working properly