heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

Blood tests for heart disease

Blood tests can measure the levels of substances such as blood fat to show if, and how much of, your heart has been damaged.

A blood test takes a small sample of your blood which is then sent for testing in a laboratory. 

Your doctor or nurse may do it, or you can have your blood test at a hospital, local health clinic or pathology service. 

How is the test done? 

Blood tests follow this procedure: 

  • Your arm is first cleaned with an antiseptic 
  • A tourniquet (an elastic rope) or a blood pressure cuff is placed around the top part of your arm. This causes the veins in your lower arm to fill with blood. 
  • A needle is inserted into the vein, and the blood is collected in a vial or syringe. 

Once your blood is taken, the needle is removed, gentle pressure is put on the area to stop any bleeding, and then a small covering is applied. The whole procedure usually only takes a few minutes. 

What does the test show? 

When your heart muscle has been damaged, which can happen during a heart attack, your body releases substances into your blood. Blood tests can measure the levels of these substances and show if, and how much of, your heart has been damaged.  

The most common blood test after a heart attack will check levels of a protein called troponin in your blood. Blood tests are also done to measure the level of other substances in your blood, such as blood fats (e.g. cholesterol and triglycerides) and minerals. 

The blood test can also show how your body’s organs are functioning, such as your kidneys, liver or hormone-producing glands. This information helps to guide treatment and diagnosis. 

Why is the test done? 

A blood test can confirm if you’ve had a heart attack and measures the extent of the damage. It will also help your doctor work out your future risk of heart disease. 

Preparing for the test 

There is no special preparation. Your doctor or healthcare provider might ask you to fast before the test, but you should check if this is necessary for your individual health situation. You should make sure you’re not dehydrated by keeping up your fluid intake, as this can make your veins easier to find for the test.  

 

For more information about blood tests, speak to your doctor, nurse or health worker, or call the Heart Foundation Helpline on 13 11 12.

You might also be interested in

Time to book a Heart Health Check?

Time to book a Heart Health Check?

Time to book a Heart Health Check?

If you're 45 and over, or 30 and over if you're of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, you should book your Heart Health Check today...

24-hour Blood Pressure Monitoring

24-hour Blood Pressure Monitoring

Blood pressure monitoring at home using a 24-hour blood pressure monitor test....

Chest x-ray for heart disease

Chest x-ray for heart disease

This test can help your doctor determine if there is anything wrong with your heart....

Coronary Angiogram Test

Coronary Angiogram Test

This is a common test done to find out angina symptoms, or during or after a heart attack. ...

Coronary Artery Calcium Score

Coronary Artery Calcium Score

A Coronary Artery Calcium Score or CT Calcium test can be used to estimate your risk of heart attack or stroke....

Medical tests for heart disease

Medical tests for heart disease

Medical tests for heart disease

Learn about the common tests your doctor may want you to have to diagnose your heart condition....

Heart Week

Heart Week

Heart Week

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

There is no single cause for any one heart condition, but there are risk factors that increase your chance of developing one. ...

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Join our community of fundraisers who are committed to taking action to fight heart disease....

Personal Walking Plan

Personal Walking Plan

Personal Walking Plan

Feel healthier and happier in six weeks with a free Personal Walking Plan...

Trek for Australian Hearts

Trek for Australian Hearts

Trek for Australian Hearts

Join the Heart Foundation in South Australia for the journey of a lifetime, trekking the ancient Flinders Ranges to help save Australian hearts....

Aboriginal heart health

Aboriginal heart health

Aboriginal heart health

Visit the St Vincents Hospital NSW and Heart Foundation Aboriginal heart health website for more information...

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation programs and resources to support your recovery....

Support for young adults: Online events

Support for young adults: Online events

Support for young adults: Online events

A series of virtual events for young adults on managing emotional wellbeing. ...

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Join the fight against Australia’s biggest killer by supporting the Heart Foundation.  ...

Coronary Angiogram Test

Coronary Angiogram Test

This is a common test done to find out angina symptoms, or during or after a heart attack. ...

What is an arrhythmia?

What is an arrhythmia?

What is an arrhythmia?

Arrhythmia is a fault in the heart’s electrical system, which affects your heart’s pumping rhythm....

Exercise boosts artery health in middle-aged and older men, not testosterone therapy

Exercise boosts artery health in middle-aged and older men, not testosterone therapy

Exercise boosts artery health in middle-aged and older men, not testosterone therapy

Media Release - 22 February 2021...

Fit, active and healthy – Sharon wasn’t expecting a heart attack

Fit, active and healthy – Sharon wasn’t expecting a heart attack

Fit, active and healthy – Sharon wasn’t expecting a heart attack

Fit, active and healthy, Sharon wasn’t expecting a heart attack. However, after experiencing a ‘widow maker’, she counts herself lucky....

Aussie men among the world’s most obese, new data

Aussie men among the world’s most obese, new data

Aussie men among the world’s most obese, new data

Media Release - 16 November 2020...

Peter is breathing easy again after heart valve surgery

Peter is breathing easy again after heart valve surgery

Peter is breathing easy again after heart valve surgery

Peter has lived with a rare heart condition since he was 14, but hadn’t given it too much thought until his 30s....

Support after a heart attack

Support after a heart attack

Support after a heart attack

Many different thoughts may go through your head after a heart attack and you may be presented with complicated medical info. Know where to get support. ...

Q&A with Dr Caleb Ferguson

Q&A with Dr Caleb Ferguson

Q&A with Dr Caleb Ferguson

An education program to promote self-care for people living with atrial fibrillation (INFORM-AF)...

What is heart failure?

What is heart failure?

What is heart failure?

Heart failure is a condition where your heart isn’t pumping as well as it should be....

Heart Healthy Dinner Plan

Heart Healthy Dinner Plan

Heart Healthy Dinner Plan

Sign up now and discover delicious, easy to follow dinner recipes. Plus shopping lists, tips and other helpful information to make healthy eating easy. ...

Cardiac arrest at 33: the challenges of restarting your life

Cardiac arrest at 33: the challenges of restarting your life

Cardiac arrest at 33: the challenges of restarting your life

Emma shares her story and opens up about her emotional struggles....

Find a cardiac rehabilitation service near you

Find a cardiac rehabilitation service near you

This cardiac services directory presents information on cardiac rehab programs offered across Australia....

Lunch recipes

Lunch recipes

Lunch recipes

Search our lunch recipe ideas...

Heart Health Network

Heart Health Network

Heart Health Network

Heart Health Network is the Heart Foundation’s newsletter for health professionals delivered to your inbox once a month....

Asian recipes

Asian recipes

Asian recipes

Find heart healthy Asian recipes....

Supporting Young Hearts

Supporting Young Hearts

Supporting Young Hearts

Advice from young people living with a heart condition....

Key Statistics: Risk Factors For Cardiovascular Disease

Key Statistics: Risk Factors For Cardiovascular Disease

Jump Rope for Heart

Jump Rope for Heart

Jump Rope for Heart

Jump Rope for Heart teaches school children how to keep fit and healthy through skipping!...

Sorting out your finances after a heart attack

Sorting out your finances after a heart attack

Sorting out your finances after a heart attack

Explore how to manage your financial concerns after a heart attack. ...

WEBINAR | Research Alumni Series 2020

WEBINAR | Research Alumni Series 2020

WEBINAR | Research Alumni Series 2020

The Heart Foundation is delivering a research webinar series for Heart Foundation research alumni....