With the rising strain on NHS resources, it’s no surprise that many people choose to turn to private healthcare options in order to have their medical needs met in a more timely manner.
When you visit a private consultant cardiologist, you can rest assured that you are in the hands of an expert and that you will have as much time as you need to discuss your symptoms and any concerns. You can also expect to have many of your cardiovascular tests carried out in-house with instant results, rather than waiting weeks for an additional appointment after which you will have to once again wait for your results.
What to Bring with You
Like any other medical appointment, if this is your first time seeing your consultant cardiologist, there are a number of things you should bring with you in preparation for your private cardiology appointment.
First and foremost, you should bring along an up-to-date list of medications you regularly take. This is important because certain medications can have cardiovascular side effects, and your cardiologist needs to know your current medications so that they don’t prescribe you anything that could cause a negative interaction.
You should also bring along your medical family history as this could help identify any hereditary cardiovascular risk factors or genetic issues which could lead to cardiovascular problems.
If you have made a cardiology appointment because you are worried about specific symptoms, or have been referred by another doctor, you should also note all your symptoms, along with any questions that you have. Don’t forget to make a note of when you began to experience the symptoms, along with their frequency if you have a reoccurring issue.
During your private cardiology appointment, you will be subjected to a number of diagnostic tests. These might sound intimidating, but there is nothing to worry about as they are routine tests used to check your heart’s health.
The most common diagnostic test used during a cardiology appointment is an electrocardiograph (ECG). Using electrodes placed on your chest, an ECG records your heart’s electrical activity and rhythm. By submitting you to an ECG, your cardiologist will be able to rule out or diagnose the following: cardiomyopathy, coronary heart disease, and arrhythmias.
Not to be confused with an ECG, an echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart and is used to gain information about the size of your heart and its pumping capacity, along with any tissue damage.
Although stress tests are seen as a common diagnostic test in cardiology, your consultant will only carry one out if they suspect that you have heart disease or have presented with specific symptoms, rather than as a general diagnostic test.
During your private cardiology appointment, your consultant may also suggest some further specialised tests, depending on the results of your diagnostic tests. These tests will most likely be done separately from your appointment due to the specialist equipment needed so your cardiologist will simply refer you for any further tests that are needed. You should expect to wait far less time to be invited back for a specialised test than you would when using the NHS.
When it comes to both diagnostic and specialised tests, it’s worth noting that your cardiologist will only submit you for the tests they feel are necessary.