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Diagnosis for urgent cardiac conditions

Symptoms associated with heart problems can be worrying due to the potentially serious nature of these conditions. Adding this stress and anxiety on top of the symptoms you have been battling can only make matters worse, making an accurate diagnosis from an experienced cardiologist of the utmost importance.

Cardiologists specialise in the treatment of anything related to the heart, so if you are concerned about any symptoms, our cardiologists at Woodlands can provide you with an accurate diagnosis and the assurance of a personalised treatment plan to address your symptoms and bring you relief.

Symptoms of a cardiac condition may include: 

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Irregular heart beat 

These symptoms can indicate various heart conditions which require treatment. For example, chest pain can be an indicator for angina, which involves a mismatch between the blood supply to your heart and the amount of work the heart has to perform. This is especially the case if those symptoms have appeared after any sort of exertion, and urgent medical attention should be sought out.

Sometimes, your GP will refer you to us, but you can also come straight to us if you have concerns about any of your symptoms. Equally, we see patients who have yet to experience any symptoms but are worried due to a family history of heart conditions. For these patients, providing some reassurance and support can have a beneficial effect on their outlook and state of mind.

With simple, non-invasive diagnostic scans and tests, our consultants can make a prompt diagnosis and start you on any necessary treatment without delay. 

These symptoms may indicate conditions of the heart, such as: 

  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Angina (clogging of the arteries, causing chest pain)
  • Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
  • Heart valve disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiomyopathy (thickening of the heart walls)
  • Congenital heart conditions (abnormalities from birth)
  • Inherited/family heart conditions 

Receiving a confirmed diagnosis of a heart condition can be upsetting, but with a personalised treatment plan based on your specific condition and medical history, your consultant can help ease your mind and bring you relief from your symptoms. Many conditions can be managed effectively with prescription medication, which can be picked up on-site at our dedicated pharmacy. Other conditions may require surgical intervention, such as the placement of a stent (to keep open a blocked coronary artery) or a pacemaker, which can be arranged elsewhere by your consultant.

Your initial consultation at Woodlands will begin with your consultant asking for a detailed medical history, and an outline of the symptoms you’ve been experiencing. They may ask you questions such as:

  • What symptoms have you noticed?
  • How long have you had these symptoms?
  • Have you had any previous heart concerns?
  • Do you have a family history of heart problems?
  • Do your symptoms get worse after exertion/exercise?
  • Have your symptoms been getting increasingly frequent?

A clinical examination will follow this, and your consultant will likely check your blood pressure. If you have reported any of the notable symptoms of a heart condition, like chest pain, shortness of breath or palpitations, diagnostic scans may be required.

These scans can take many forms, depending on your specific symptoms. One common scan is an echocardiogram; an ultrasound scan specifically of your heart. This is often used if your consultant suspects you may have narrow or leaking heart valves, and is the go-to scan for investigating heart failure.

Ambulatory Heart Monitoring is another option, which constantly monitors and records your heart rate over a set period of time. The monitoring kit is worn continuously, sometimes just for 24-48 hours, sometimes for a period of 5-10 days. This data can then be analysed by your consultant to help track if anything in particular triggers a spike in heart rate.

Normally, this monitoring is done with an Electrocardiogram (ECG), where sensors are placed on your arms, legs, and chest, tracking the electrical activity of your heart. This is often done during your initial consultation, and no preparation is needed beforehand. An ECG can detect a variety of heart diseases, such as arrhythmia, cardiomyopathy, coronary heart disease and heart attacks.

These initial investigations are all non-invasive. Occasionally, your symptoms may need further analysis, so a CT coronary angiogram may be used to get a definitive diagnosis, especially in cases where angina is suspected. This involves a flexible tube (catheter) being inserted through your groin or arm, travelling up towards your heart and the surrounding arteries. A dye is injected, and then x-ray scans are taken, highlighting any areas which may be blocked or narrowed.

This specialist test would need to be organised for a future date and may involve a visit to another facility.

Once a diagnosis has been confirmed, your consultant can form a treatment plan for you, outlining all possible options and explaining the expected outcomes, taking into account your goals for recovery. Ultimately, you will have the final say on how you wish to proceed.

Treatment is always consultant-led and consultant-delivered, ensuring you are overseen by the same consultant from day one, right through to the end of your treatment. 

Choosing to have your cardiology treatment done at Woodlands comes with a host of benefits, such as:

Assessments ASAP – Certain cardiac conditions are best treated at the earliest possible stage. If you’ve been experiencing any of the associated symptoms, our consultants can see you for an assessment without delay, getting you an accurate diagnosis and the necessary treatment before your symptoms progress any further. 

Patient Satisfaction – 98.2% of other patients in 2019 said they would happily recommend Woodlands Hospital to friends and family in an independent report, and we’re confident that you’ll agree. 98.3% also said that the quality of care here at Woodlands Hospital was either ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’. We aim to make your stay with us as comfortable as possible, and these results highlight our continued efforts to ensure this is achieved.

Personalised care – We believe in a bespoke approach to treatment, tailoring each experience to our patients’ needs and whatever may be best for you. This is regularly reviewed, ensuring you get the necessary treatment at every stage of your patient journey. 

A Multidisciplinary Approach – Our teams at Woodlands work in tandem with each other to provide you with the best possible care from start to finish. Working closely with a dedicated team of radiographers, anaesthetists, and nurses, you have support from medical professionals every step of the way during your treatment.

Convenient Appointments – With appointments available between 10am and 8.30pm Monday-Saturday, you are sure to find an appointment slot that suits your needs and availability.

Park with ease – We know that parking should be the least of your worries when attending hospital, so our car park has ample space to accommodate your needs. Alternatively, we are very close to Darlington Railway Station, should you wish to visit us by train.

If you concerned about any of the symptoms you’ve been experiencing, why not book a consultation with one of our consultant cardiologists today? Our consultants can outline all treatment options for you promptly, arranging any necessary diagnostic scans, treatment and surgery if required. 

Treating patients in Darlington, Richmond, Barnard Castle and further afield, peace of mind and expert care is on your doorstep at Woodlands Hospital. Contact us today to book an appointment.