Cardiac procedures

The following procedures are non-invasive and can be performed at BMI The Chaucer Hospital:

Electrocardiogram (ECG)
An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a test to assess the electrical signals from the heart. It can identify many heart problems e.g. abnormal heart rhythms and blood supply problems.

24 hour and 72 hour Electrocardiogram
Sometimes it is important to assess the heart rhythm over a longer period of time to capture the cause of palpitations. Continuous electrocardiography monitoring evaluates the heart rate for an extended period.

Seven day ECG monitoring
If necessary, we are able to extend the length of time for which a patient’s heart rhythm can be continuously monitored.

Stress Electrocardiogram (Stress ECG)
A stress ECG test compares ECGs obtained before, during and after the heart has been stressed through physical exercise (treadmill). This test is most frequently used to diagnose angina.

24-hour Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitor
This portable device measures blood pressure continuously over a 24-hour period. Its main use is to confirm the diagnosis of hypertension and monitor treatment.

Echocardiogram
This is an ultrasound study of the heart and is used to diagnose the function of the heart and identify structural abnormalities (e.g. valvular disease and evidence of a heart attack).

Stress Echocardiogram
During this test, an echocardiogram is carried out both before and after the heart is stressed - either through physical exercise (treadmill) or by injecting a medicine that makes the heart beat harder and faster. A stress echocardiogram is usually performed to find out if there is decreased blood flow to the heart.

Tilt Table Testing
This procedure is for patients who have episodes of syncope, faints and postural hypotension. The patient is positioned on a table, which is tilted to approx 60 degrees (semi standing position), following which, any response in ECG and blood pressure is observed.

Reveal Monitors
Reveal monitors are implantable recorders that record an ECG at symptomatic times. This is an extremely useful diagnostic procedure in patients with sporadic symptoms

Vascular Scanning
This is an ultrasound test to assess the blood flow through the veins in specific parts of the body. The scans available include carotid artery scanning, limb assessments, varicose vein scanning and DVT scanning.  A full diagnostic report of the findings is produced.

CT Coronary Angiography
The CT scanner provides highly detailed images of blood vessels and the heart. It is used for finding narrowing in the coronary arteries and for ruling in or out significant heart disease and artery disease or congenital abnormalities.

CT Calcium Scoring
Coronary artery calcium scoring is a highly advanced non-invasive test that uses a high speed CT scanner and computer software to detect and measure calcium build up on the walls of the arteries that supply the heart (coronary arteries). This test is used to check for heart disease in an early stage and to determine how severe it is. A high calcium score indicates calcified plaque in the arteries and an increased risk of heart attack.

Preventative Cardiology
The Health Screening Department at The Chaucer Hospital offers a comprehensive cardiac screen for patients who have a family history of heart problems or who wish to monitor their heart fitness in order to detect early warnings. A consultant cardiologist reports on each screen.

Invasive procedures

Most of our cardiologists can perform invasive cardiology procedures. The arrangements for booking these procedures will be managed by BMI The Chaucer Hospital, providing a seamless service. 

Coronary angiography
Usually a day case procedure to identify any narrowing or occlusions of the coronary arteries. Using a very small catheter, inserted either into the femoral or radial artery, each of the coronary arteries is selectively catheterised and a radiopaque dye is used to view each artery in detail.

Angioplasty
This procedure uses a balloon catheter to dilate narrowing in the coronary artery and then a small stent maybe inserted using the same catheter to ensure the artery remains patent. The patient usually remains in hospital for an overnight stay and is typically back to their normal activities within ten days.

Electrophysiology
This procedure accurately diagnoses the precise cause of the arrhythmia. Several very small catheters are introduced into the femoral vein and placed in specific parts around the heart. The heart is then tested to see if an arrhythmia is present or can be provoked. Most arrhythmias can be treated by radio frequency ablation.

Radio Frequency Ablation
This procedure is used to treat existing or diagnosed arrhythmias. A small catheter is introduced into the femoral vein and placed at the source of the arrhythmia.A small burst of energy is delivered to the site of the arrhythmia. Following the ablation the heart is re-tested to make sure that the arrhythmia has been treated sufficiently to prevent recurrence.

Pacemaker Implantation
A pacemaker is small device that is inserted when the hearts own natural pacemaker is not functioning correctly.  Regular checks are required to ensure correct function and these are undertaken within the Cardiology Department.

Implantable Defibrillator
This device is very similar to the pacemaker but is slightly bigger in size. The device detects the arrhythmia and delivers two types of treatment depending on the arrhythmia; either pacing the heart out of the arrhythmia or delivering a small burst of energy to restore the normal heart rate. Regular checks are needed to ensure correct function.

Trans-oesophageal Echocardiogram (TOE)
Sometimes, a more detailed study to assess heart structure and its function is required. For this test, the probe is passed down the oesophagus instead of being moved over the outside of the chest wall. A sedative and an anaesthetic applied to the throat are used to make patients comfortable during this test. 

Please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team if you require treatment that is not listed above and would like to discuss your needs.

To find out more about cardiac services available at BMI Chaucer Hospital please call 01227 825100 or make an online enquiry.