Elevated levels of circulating endothelial cells (CECs) occur in response to various pathological conditions including myocardial infarction (MI). Here, we adapted a fluid phase biopsy technology platform that successfully detects circulating tumor cells in the blood of cancer patients (HD-CTC assay), to create a high-definition circulating endothelial cell (HD-CEC) assay for the detection and characterization of CECs. Peripheral blood samples were collected from 79 MI patients, 25 healthy controls and six patients undergoing vascular surgery (VS). CECs were defined by positive staining for DAPI, CD146 and von Willebrand Factor and negative staining for CD45. In addition, CECs exhibited distinct morphological features that enable differentiation from surrounding white blood cells. CECs were found both as individual cells and as aggregates. CEC numbers were higher in MI patients compared with healthy controls. VS patients had lower CEC counts when compared with MI patients but were not different from healthy controls. Both HD-CEC and CellSearch® assays could discriminate MI patients from healthy controls with comparable accuracy but the HD-CEC assay exhibited higher specificity while maintaining high sensitivity. Our HD-CEC assay may be used as a robust diagnostic biomarker in MI patients.