I'm new: how long til I get seen by Cardiol... - AF Association

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I'm new: how long til I get seen by Cardiologist??

patience12
patience12

Dear all, another load of questions....so I was diagnosed Sunday (in A&E). Referral for echo cardio gram and cardiologist. My questions are: 1) how long does it typically take to get those 2 appointments? 2) And I assume echo cardiogram has o be before cardiologist so they know what they are looking at?

I'm thinking I'm on thinners and beta blockers , but still in Afib, which can't be great for heart, right?

I have an appointment Friday with a dept. (no idea of name) to talk about my blood thinner.

But no idea re: cardiologist...I am hoping they don't take too long that's all, especially as had booked ski-ing for end of Jan and 3) need to know what I should tell the insurance company?

sorry for all the questions!!

thanks

63 Replies
oldestnewest

Could be a long wait which is usual in Cardiology, depends on the hospital waiting times and if you are "urgent" or not, I waited 5 months to see my EP then another 2 months for follow up with Cardio Con.

patience12
patience12
in reply to bantam12

Wow! I assumed it would be more or less instant!

bantam12
bantam12
in reply to patience12

Most cardiology departments have to many patients so wait times are long, a friend of mine is a consultant secretary in Cardiology and she said appts for Echos can take 6 months although I've never had to wait that long.

You could go private if you don't want to wait but any tests needed are costly, I have paid between £150-250 for private Consultant appts and £160 for follow ups.

It really depends on your local cardiology department but you could try ringing them to find out the likely length of wait. I think the echo may be done first to help the cardiologist decide on the way forward, but that depends on the cardio - mine saw me in hospital and ordered the echo for the same day before I was allowed home.

Being in AF is not the ideal thing but many people have weeks and months of AF, without damage so try not to worry too much.

I’m fairly certain your travel insurers will need to be notified but a more up to date member should be able to help you with that question.

patience12
patience12
in reply to Finvola

Ok, thanks Finvola. Yes, its the damage aspect that worries me....Not that I want to particularly, but has anyone opted for private in that case, to speed it up? Is that a good idea? (am asking but I bet it would cost a fortune!)

Finvola
Finvola
in reply to patience12

I paid £200 to see an EP privately and it was money well spent in my case. I had already had all my tests and had seen a cardiologist who referred me to an EP. The wait was 13 months on the NHS and 4 days at a private hospital to see the same EP. 😡

Once you have been seen by a consultant privately, you can then return to his/her NHS list. Check too on the cost of tests which may be needed - eg the echo.

patience12
patience12
in reply to Finvola

13 months!!!! I think the suspense will do me in! Ok will definitely check out private thanks for the input X

I paid £160 for initial & £120 for follow-up appointments (they added 30 quid for ECG at each appt).

Echo & 24 hour monitor were £300 each. These are the cheapest tests - if you require them or others, you can ask to be transferred back to the NHS so you don’t have to pay, but will have the reassurance of an early appointment with a cardiologist or electrophysiologist (specialist in ablation). Typical wait for appointment is 1-3 weeks. I spoke to my cardiologist on the phone prior to my appointment 10 days later, & he arranged for the tests to be done before I saw him so that he had all the diagnostic information to hand. I took copies of the ECG’s taken in A&E with me too.

For me, it was worth it for peace of mind & rapid treatment as, after my diagnosis, I was left on no treatment as I reacted badly to betablocker & GP deemed me too young(64) for anticoagulant.

Cardiologist recommended anticoagulant & prescribed an anti-Arrythmia drug & I’ve been fine for the 18 months since.

Best of luck

Pat x

Thanks Pat- yes to me the weird thing is suddenly having a heart problem but seemingly it can take weeks or months to see a cardiologist? Anyway I was immediately put in thinner and bisoprolol by a and e. I have diabetes so maybe they thought they better had!!

Other than the palpitatations I feel fine ( except the worry) . I feel as I am now constantly aware of every (erratic) heartbeat although tbh it’s fainter now as the Bisoprolol seems to have ‘quietened’ it even if it’s not stopped the afib.

They do something called a Chadsvasc score (you can look this up on the AF website). You must have scored at least 2 for anticoagulants to be prescribed. I scored 1 on diagnosis but was within 6 months of scoring 2 as I was 64 at the time.

Bisoprolol controls the rate, but has no effect on rhythm.

AF in most cases, is seen as less urgent than many other cardiac problems e.g. heart attack & it’s ongoing effects, narrowing of coronary arteries, heart failure, leaky valves etc. We all get very anxious, but I guess we have to accept that others are at far greater risk.

All the best

Pat x

thanks - yes diabetes gives you 1 point and I think the other was being female (?) so thats 2....

HiddenThis reply has been deleted
FancyPants54
FancyPants54
in reply to Hidden

That's just not true! That's never going to happen.

FlapJack
FlapJack
in reply to Hidden

An interesting theory Don, but which planet are you living on. Just as a thought, have heard from Aufgeblassen recently?

irene75359
irene75359
in reply to FlapJack

This person just can't stop himself, can he?

Cyrtis
Cyrtis
in reply to Hidden

That's what they did for me. I was kept if for over a week till they stabilised me with the drug that worked, after a few failed attempts. Having said that, my AF was extreme.

Maggimunro
Maggimunro
in reply to Hidden

Don, both my brothers have Afib and both lead active lives (73 and 75 years old). Neither of them knew they were in Afib, it was picked up during routine health checks. I travelled to Australia with Afib.

Of course it needs sorting but Afib is not a killer. It can just make your life miserable as it did for me before my ablations but both my brothers were a symptomatic.

The biggest risk with Afib is stroke and if you are on anti coagulation even that risk is considerably reduced.

lallym
lallym
in reply to Hidden

Don't say that as it's not true and will cause stress and upset to others. A lot of people have AF with no real problem as long as they are anticoagulated.

Finvola
Finvola
in reply to lallym

Folks, pay no attention to this poster under the guise of Don_Adams_86, who is a troll and his posts, under several different ID’s, are designed to cause stress and upset with wildly inaccurate and misleading claims.

In the case of dangerous information, report it.

I was seen in hospital in A & E by cardiologist, in fact he saved my life as I was having massive pulmonary embolism at the time and he gave the clot buster drug. I also had echo cardiogram done. The PE left me with afib and I was put on beta blocker, anti coagulant via drip initially and then switched to tablet after four days, blood pressure medication as well. Following discharge from hospital it was a further six months before I got cardiology follow up (that was considered quick), but which time the afib had become persistant and the cardioversion they tried only lasted three days. I'm not willing to risk ablation, so live with the condition. I'm on all meds for life now. I'm in my tenth month since it all happened, and I still haven't been seen by the pulmonary clinic! I'm in rural Wales. If you can afford private, then go for it.

Max501
Max501
in reply to Catlady56

Hi, just some peace of mind to offer you, I’m a 47 year old male and had an ablation two and a half months ago, despite some side affects in the early days I would highly recommend it, suffered from AFib, A Flutter and SVT... a nice trio 👍

It took 2 months for my initial cardiologist appointment and he did my echo cardiogram whilst I was there. Then a further 6 months for a follow-up where nothing changed. I will have been in Afib for 12 months come mid February. My heart was fine at my check-up. I take a blood thinner and a beta blocker. My main issue is I'm tired and weary all the time. No way could I go skiing. Hoovering does me in. I think I need to ask to try a different beta blocker because others have energy issues with Bisoprolol. I am due a cardioversion at the end of January. I'm not even sure I want it. I prefer this gentle Afib to the awful, violent out of the blue bouts of Afib I had over the years.

Just an aside really, but I’ve been a new person since coming off Bisoprolol.

7164
7164
in reply to Staffsgirl

Staffsgirl

The bisop does me too. Tight chest trembling

What do you take now and does it work?

Rod

Staffsgirl
Staffsgirl
in reply to 7164

Take nothing in the place of the Bisoprolol. Doc happy for me to come off. Still take anticoagulant. I had excruciating leg and foot pains, was tired and breathless. Took it for nearly two years...I so wish I’d come off it before, but hadn’t been aware it was causing the pains.

Really? I just have no energy or stamina at all. I keep thinking my HRT needs upping or my thyroid needs more medication. But when I do these things it doesn't make a difference. I wasn't optimally medicated on either of these things when my Afib became permanent so I felt like this then anyway so it's really hard to tell if this came with the Afib medications. I have Digoxin too.

What do you take instead of Bisoprolol?

See my reply to 7164

Thanks. I can’t come off. My HR goes too high. I’m sick of feeling I’m living half a life.

I’m sorry to hear that. No doubt they will find an alternative to Bisoprolol for you. It’s only since I came off it that I’ve realised it doesn’t suit so many people. I suspect it’s the first option the medics prescribe, but there are alternatives. Good luck!

I think I’ve read that taking Digoxin and Bisoprolol together might exacerbate unwanted side effects.

Gowers
Gowers
in reply to Staffsgirl

I didn't think they could be taken together?

Staffsgirl
Staffsgirl
in reply to Gowers

I believe FancyPants54 takes both. Unless I’ve misunderstood.

I'm also on Bisoprolol - 5mg a day, split into two doses. I have been in constant afib since April when I had pulmonary embolism. I tire very easily, sweat a lot just doing housework, walking any distance feels like a marathon. I had a cardioversion in November and the difference was like night and day. Sadly it only lasted three days, but if you are lucky enough to have longer term success with it, then well worth trying. I'm 64 and feel like 84.

I’m due a cardio version at the end of the month. But I don’t hold out much hope because I’ve been stuck in AF for nearly a year. It’s been too long.

Gowers
Gowers
in reply to Catlady56

I feel just like you - my cardioversion lasted just one day.

I struggled on Bisop but, I'm still struggling on the different meds cardiologist prescribed

I think a lot depends upon your local cardiology dept., list as to whether you will be seen sooner or later.'Putting on the agony' to the dept., MAY help but it would need to be genuine .Ask if they have a cancellation list .When people drop out(or even drop dead) they may have a gap in the list.

BobD
BobDVolunteer

Mostly very good advice above but to answer one unaswered question. You holiday insurance. This may well be a problem if you are awaitinng tests or treatment since many companies will not cover you for such conditions. The fact is that until the full extent of your condition is known they can't assess the risk they are accepting.

The other point is that altough I encourage people to get on with their lives I do wonder about a skiing holiday? Altitude will make your heart work much harder (well it does for me) and may well exacerbate your problem. Maybe best to discuss with your doctor before you decide.

Eddie49
Eddie49
in reply to BobD

I agree with Bob regarding insurance. My 'bout' of Afib happened on my 70th birthday almost five months ago. Instead of going out for a meal with a group of friends and family I was in A+E all night, put on Apixaban and told I would be seen in out patients for a stress test, Echo cardiogram and 24 hour monitor. This happened a few of weeks before a long-planned holiday to Japan to visit our son and see the World Cup Rugby. Our existing insurance company along with several others would not cover me while I was 'awaiting tests'. After a long day on the phone I finally, through a broker, found a company to cover me for £550 for the single trip only. I will now be ringing to see where I am on the waiting list before we can consider any hols this year. I am very lucky in that Afib itself is not unduly affecting me at the present time.

Gowers
Gowers
in reply to Eddie49

You seem to have been waiting a long while - I would have thought having to go to A&E would have helped you to be seen sooner

Eddie49
Eddie49
in reply to Gowers

Yes you would think so. However, I have now spoken to the hospital secretary and it seems that though I was told that I will be seen as an out-patient for the tests above, there is nothing on my records to say that is so. I am going to speak to a GP to see if I now need to be referred or just wait to see what happens next re: AFib.

Cheers

Hi Patience , re your planned ski trip ....first you must tell your insurance company about your diagnosis of AF and be prepared for this to put a spanner in the works , so to speak. The fact thst you are waiting to see a specialist is another obstacle in getting insured.

Regarding your anticoagulant ( or blood thinner as you call them) , you may wish to mention your impending ski holiday to the dept you have an appt with next week who may well question the wisdom of this sport. I know when I started warfarin about 17/18 years ago I was told no rock climbing 🤔

This waiting around for initial appts is so frustrating. I had to really push for a quick one ( ashamed to say it was tears down the phone to the cardio s secretary.....) but this was 28 years ago .

Best of luck

When I was first diagnosed with AF I was kept in hospital until an echocardiogram had been done, on another occasion I was kept in for an angiogram and last time I went to A&E I was kept in for treatment until my heart reverted to NSR. This is not to bore on about my history but to show that if there is any reason to suspect your heart is in a dangerous condition it is usual to do tests right away and not, as an old friend mentioned, 'monkey about' 😁 But I'm sure the skiing holiday without insurance (you can't get it for conditions under investigation) will be off, hope cancellation won't be expensive? Best wishes 💜

Szycttnsx
Szycttnsx
in reply to Buffafly

I was refused holiday insurance for being under medical investigation

LaceyLady
LaceyLady
in reply to Szycttnsx

Me too. We’d booked to go for 3/4 week to South America’s and Insurance was due for renewal. They wouldn’t re-I sure me, so we had to cancel it. Luckily there is a government directive and they had to pay our deposits. Our lovely travel company managed to get some deposits refunded so it took to total lower.

I'm curious about the insurance - I have PAF and went on holiday recently (I live in South Africa) to the UK and Ireland - I booked my trip on line with my credit card, which gave me free travel insurance. No questions were asked about health - the policy was just emailed through..

You would probably not have been covered then. It’s important your insurers know of existing health conditions.

It's surprising they did not ask - not even a form to fill in. Maybe because I am a British subject and most of my time was spent in the UK with relations, and just a few days in Ireland - I know that on the coach trip to Ireland, the other travellers were American, and somewhere along the way they had picked up a cough which infected all the others on the coach,myself included. When I got back to my sister in England, I was so bad, she made me an appointment with her doctor's surgery. which cost me nothing for the consultation and medication.

😳 You wouldn’t have been covered. There’s bound to be small print.

Yes, you're right, I doubt the bank that issued the policy would have covered it, but that would not have been too serious as we have here what are called 'Medical Aid Societies', membership is optional and to which you pay a monthly subscription, but they cover most of the cost of private medical treatment, depending on the plan to which you belong. Mine covers me for medical treatment when overseas up to quite a large sum.

I was diagnosed in Sept 18 with AF. Stayed in AF ... I had the persistent type. Saw a cardiologist in November 18. All the while I stayed in AF.

Horrible time.

Had a cardioversion in Jan 19.

Went into NSR and have stayed there ever since.

Had my first Echocardiogram in July 19.

I have been advised now that if I were to go into AF again I should go to A&E for cardioversion. However that wasn’t how it was when first diagnosed. I did 4 months out of rhythm and really fast heartbeat.

The anticoagulant and Beta Blockers I presume, keep you safe while waiting.

I still take them btw.

Just another thought the small print on your insurance says you have a duty of disclosure. So I wouldn't risk not disclosing as I know they would not pay any medical cost. They always ask your doctor.

Jalia
Jalia
in reply to Szycttnsx

Too true! Insurance companies will try anything to get out of paying up. Fact. I always declare everything. Prob why my quotes are so high ....😬

I had AF and it took 2 months to control my heart beat. ! Cardiologist said I could not fly until my heart was under better control. Make sure you get it added into your medical records if your cardiologist/doctor arrythmia nurse says you can't fly. It wasn't written down in my medical notes so when I had to claim insurance there was no written proof. Eventually after two months of chasing evidence around and paying doctor thirty pounds to fill in a form the claim was paid out in full excepting excess. !

Nick1957
Nick1957
in reply to Nick1957

Hasten to add that b4 cardiologist said no flying I(about 8 weeks before) I contacted holiday insurance Nat west and asked if I was covered for AF - their answer was if I’d booked the flights/holiday before being diagnosed then they would honour it for free. However, next time I book an holiday and if I was still in AF then there would be a supplement to pay! About £100? Nice to know eh?

You could buy a Kardia for ecg.

AliveCor KardiaMobile EKG Monitor | FDA-Cleared | Wireless Personal EKG | Works with Smartphone | Detects AFib Bradycardia and Tachycardia in 30 Seconds amazon.co.uk/dp/B01A4W8AUK/...

My cardiologist recommends them.

I paid to see him. I have private schemes but have an excess and we have to pay for consultations, keeps premiums down.

I’m on 1.25 Bisoprolol and 50mg Flecainaide. Beta locker and rhythm control. I’m 62

Patience12 take no notice of that character, talking load of tripe. I’ve been a Complementary Therapist for 22 years and some of the others here are far more knowledgeable about the condition.

hi LaceyLady - sorry who did you mean I should ignore? just so I am clear. thanks

Health Insurance or holiday?

no idea how to update, so replying to myself to update people! Anyway, I took advice from thread and phoned hospital. They said I was marked 'urgent' so it would be 8-10 weeks. 😒😒). (At which point I booked a cardiologist privately. Also GP for next week to go over things. Thanks for help on here. I will see what happens re: advice (cardiologist ) on skiing; cancellation etc (Insurers) etc. We are already insured annually, so am hoping as this is new thing (not preexisting) if we cancel we can get money back 🤞

We had to cancel a holiday recently as husband was rereferred to cardiologist. Insurers happy to pay out for cancellation ( full amount as imminent departure) but would not cover us if we went as no diagnosis.

Turned out to be error by sonographer during echo, hey ho.

Three years ago I was diagnosed with AF and I'm still in AF. I expected a quick fix and in my case there isn't one. So be prepared. There are different types of AF (permanent, persistant and paroxysmal). AF affects people differently, in my case breathlessness and fatigue when walking up a slight incline. I have been only on rivaroxaban since I was diagnosed. I don't need beta-blockers. Our local "centre of excellence" is under resourced and under funded with resulting long waiting lists for cardioversions, ablations, MRIs, echocardiograms etc. Cardioversions and ablations may not work first time, as in my case - I'm on an urgent waiting list (at least six months) for my third ablation. I am slowly coming to terms with my persistant AF and the limitations it has on my lifestyle. I wish you well patience12 - be patient!

I suddenly went into persistent AF last April, just before a planned holiday in the Outer Hebrides where medical care was going to to be quite a long way away. Drs said it should be fine, and by making sure I had enough medication for the whole trip (beta blocker and blood thinner), it was no problem.

There was a 6 week wait for an echocardiogram, which turned into a 3 month wait, as we were still on holiday when the 1st appt was sent, then a 2 1/2 month wait for the report on it to be sent, 6 more weeks till I got an OP appt in November, and I've had 3 appointments for cardioversion cancelled in the last week. Thinking perhaps I should have explored the private route.

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