When you first meet with your Consultant Cardiologist here at BMI The Manor Hospital, they will talk with you about your symptoms. They will want to know things like:
- How long you have had the problem for
- If you have chest pain, the type of pain it is (for example, is it dull or sharp, localised or spread throughout the chest, constant or intermittent?)
- Whether any particular activities seem to trigger your symptoms or make them worse
- Whether your symptoms have been getting worse over time.
Some of the more common symptoms are:
- Chest pain
- Loss of Consciousness
There are a number of useful diagnostic tests that can be carried out to investigate cardiovascular problems. Because your cardiovascular system is spread throughout the body, you may need a few different tests to narrow things down to a specific cause.
Some tests your consultant may arrange for you include:
- An ECG to measure the electrical activity of your heart
- Holter monitor/ Patch Monitor: an ECG carried out over a longer period of time (usually between 1 – 7 days)
- Blood pressure monitoring over 24hrs
- Tilt test, to help assess changes in heart rate and blood pressure with changes in posture
- Echocardiography: an ultrasound scan of the heart
- Coronary angiography and CT coronary angiography: specialised X-ray imaging of the blood vessels that supply the heart (the coronary arteries)
- Cardiac MRI – specialised magnetic imaging of the heart to look at the heart muscle in detail.
For certain conditions, same-day ECG patch heart monitoring can also be arranged. This measures every heartbeat over a period of time (48 hours – 14 days) and then you simply put the monitor in a pre-paid envelope. The results are then analysed and your consultant will receive them within a week of completion of the test, significantly reducing the time you’ll need to wait.
Your doctor will be able to arrange any additional tests and investigations you need, but please note that these may be carried out off-site, often with the direct supervision of the consultant involved in your care.