This is a group of tests and health factors that have been proven to indicate your chance of having a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack or stroke. They have been refined to indicate the degree of risk: borderline, intermediate, or high risk.
Perhaps the most important indicators for cardiac risk are your personal health history. These include:
- Family history
- Cigarette smoking
- Blood pressure
- Exercise, physical activity
- Pre-existing heart disease, or already having had a heart attack
There are some imaging tests that may be used in cardiac risk assessment. Non-invasive tests may include, for example, an electrocardiogram(ECG or EKG)or a stress test, also called ECG stress test or metabolic stress test. Invasive tests may also be used to evaluate for the presence of cardiovascular disease(CVD) but they are usually used for diagnostic purposes in people with signs and symptoms and not for risk assessment. Examples include an angiography/arteriography and cardiac catheterization. (For more on these, see the Mayo Clinic webpage on Coronary artery disease: Diagnosis.)
The lipid panel is the most important blood test for cardiac risk assessment.