Your doctor will diagnose coronary microvascular disease (MVD) based on your medical history, a physical exam, and test results. He or she will check to see whether you have any risk factors for heart disease.
Your doctor may ask you to describe any chest pain, including when it started and how it changed during physical activity or periods of stress. He or she also may ask about other symptoms, such as fatigue (tiredness), lack of energy, and shortness of breath. Women may be asked about their menopausal status.
Cardiologists and doctors who specialize in family and internal medicine might help diagnose and treat coronary MVD. Cardiologists are doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating heart diseases and conditions.
The risk factors for coronary MVD and traditional coronary heart disease (CHD) often are the same. Thus, your doctor may recommend tests for CHD, such as:
Unfortunately, standard tests for CHD aren't designed to detect coronary MVD. These tests look for blockages in the large coronary arteries. Coronary MVD affects the tiny coronary arteries.
If test results show that you don't have CHD, your doctor might still diagnose you with coronary MVD. This could happen if signs are present that not enough oxygen is reaching your heart's tiny arteries.
Coronary MVD symptoms often first occur during routine daily tasks. Thus, your doctor may ask you to fill out a questionnaire called the Duke Activity Status Index (DASI). The questionnaire will ask you how well you're able to do daily activities, such as shopping, cooking, and going to work.
The DASI results will help your doctor decide which kind of stress test you should have. The results also give your doctor information about how well blood is flowing through your coronary arteries.
Research is ongoing for better ways to detect and diagnose coronary MVD. Currently, researchers have not agreed on the best way to diagnose the disease.
Celebrating American Heart Month: NIH Advancing Heart Research
The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.