beth israel deaconess medical center a harvard medical school teaching hospital

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Physical Examination

Patient Medical History

Your diagnosis begins with a physical exam which includes questions about:

  • General health
  • Signs and symptoms
  • Family history, particularly of heart disease

Physician Findings

Your doctor may be alerted to aortic stenosis by the following:

  • Abnormal chest sounds, such as a heart murmur or click.
  • Noticeable chest heave or vibration when the doctor's hand is held over your heart.

Diagnostic Tests

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

Chest X-Ray

Simple x-ray test that uses radiation to take pictures of structures inside the body.


Test that uses high frequency sound waves or ultrasound to examine the size, shape and motion of the heart.


Electrocardiogram (ECG)

This test records the heart's activity by measuring electrical currents through the heart muscle.

It may show signs of heart strain or enlargement.

Transesophageal Echocardiography (TEE)

This test uses sound waves to make an image of the heart.

A TEE is a special type of echocardiogram -- a common test used to detect heart disease -- where an ultrasound device is placed down the esophagus, close to the heart and aorta. It makes clearer pictures than does a conventional echocardiogram.

Coronary Catheterization

To see the blood flowing through your heart, your doctor may perform a coronary catheterization.

Insertion of Catheter with Guide Wire

This involves injecting a dye into the heart chambers and arteries. The dye is delivered through a long, thin, flexible tube called a catheter that is threaded through a leg artery. This is called catheterization.

When the dye is seen on x-ray images it provides information about the heart and valves. This procedure is done in the hospital.

Contact Information

Cardiovascular Medicine
Division of the CardioVascular Institute
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215