Our cardiologist will, first of all, have an in depth chat with the patient and take a full medical history in order to establish whether the symptoms could be due to a cardiovascular problem. A full physical examination is also carried out to assess the cardiovascular system.
Diagnostic tests performed usually include an ECG, which is a measurement of the electricity going through heart. This relatively straightforward test can offer important insights to any potential underlying heart issue.
Another diagnostic test that might be required is an ECHO, which is an ultrasound scan of the heart. This allows the cardiologist to look at the heart’s function, including assessing the main pumping chambers as well as the function of the valves of the heart.
Our cardiologist may go on to perform other tests on the day, which could include a treadmill test (also known as a ‘stress test’). This is where the patient is asked to walk on an incline, which gets progressively steeper and faster. This is a good way of stressing the heart to find out if there are any signs of problems that may not be apparent at rest.
If there are suspicions of heart rhythm problems, the team can arrange for appropriate monitoring of the heart. These monitors can be fitted for anything between 24 hours up to two weeks.
Sometimes, patients need other, more specialist cardiac investigations such as a CT coronary angiogram. This is a way of non-invasively looking at the coronary arteries around the heart by using a CT scanner.
Some patients may need a cardiac MRI scan. This is a very sophisticated way of looking at the heart function. We can arrange for those to be performed off-site at the nearby University of Aberdeen, which Albyn has close links with. These tests are available very quickly too.
Many other diagnostic tests can be performed here at Albyn, such as blood tests, chest x-rays, blood pressure monitoring, ultrasound scans and CT scans, and will be organised if necessary.