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British Heart Foundation
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Finding a Cardiologist

Hi Everyone

Hope you are all keeping well, this may be a long post so I apologise!!!

Would appreciate if someone could give me some advice, I was referred for the 3rd time to a cardiologist. I have seen a different one each time, I had a ecg at my GP surgery which showed changes to the heart muscle. I have had high blood pressure for many years. I saw the consultant in November, he examined me and said all seemed ok. I had had a 24hr blood pressure monitor the previous week done, unfortunately they had lost the results. He said as my GP had asked for a echo he would request one, he said I was discharged and if I needed to go back they would get in touch. I had the echo in December, I had not heard anything from the hospital so assumed all was ok. I went to see my GP he had not received a report but looked on my hospital record. He read the echo report which said I have leaking aortic and mitral valves, also thickening of the left ventricle. I don’t understand why I have not heard anything from the hospital!!!, my GP said he will re refer back. I’ve lost confidence in going back to see yet another general cardiologist, I would like to see someone who specialises in heart valves, who can give me a management plan. I’m not sure how I can find one, I live in Yorkshire. Do you think I am asking for too much. So sorry for the long post, looking forward to your posts x

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Hi Lindylou

The best advise I can give you about finding a particular specialism is to do a Google Search. Looking at private hospital web sites can also be a good source - most of those working in the NHS will also be working privately and most will have a brief resume posted.

As for the issue with not seeing the same person twice, this is unfortunately a very common occurrence. My advice here is to get hold of the telephone number for the Cardiology secretary. This way if you do not get results, you can at least chase them up (I do this on occasion). It doesn't address the issue of not seeing the same person, but at least you get your results this way!

If you can afford it, you can always get a private appointment with a named cardiologist of your choosing (about £100-200) - it doesn't commit you to going privately, but it can help to get straight answers (and you get a longer appointment than you might otherwise do on the NHS).

Steve

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Hi Steve

Thank you for all that information, I will certainly ring the secretary on Monday asking about my test results. I will also look on the private hospital websites about finding a cardiologist who specialises in heart valves. The thing is I don’t understand why the cardiologist I saw in November has not asked me to go back after seeing my echo results!!! If I had not gone to see my GP I wouldn’t have known about this, as he hadn’t received a report. It was just by chance he looked on my hospital records. I feel as if I’m having to chase everything up!! Sorry for the moaning!!! Have a good weekend

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Hi, you could ask your Dr to refer you to a different hospital. Also, I would ask your doctor to contact the hospital & ask why you have not had a follow up appointment. Worth reading the patients charter which will tell what you should expect as a patient and what to do if your care is not up to standard. Please don't lose confidence, not all hospitals are the same. My husband is under 2 hospitals for his heart condition & he gets excellent care from both. Hope all goes well for you. X

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You may have some trouble getting to a Cardiologist who suits you. I did. So shop around, as others have suggested.

But the valves.... mine were leaking and, when I first heard, I panicked. I now understand that they were ‘mild’. Not until they are ‘severe’ do they think of surgery. They are both now ‘moderate’, but I have an echo each year to check if they are progressing.

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I agree with everyone. I had to have an aoric valve replacement. The NHS Consultant was very honest and said that the waiting list was very long and I would possibly have to wait much longer than 4 months. My condition was severe at the time. If I waited for the NHS there would be a high possibility I wouldn’t survive. I asked how much to have it done privately. £20,000. Pay or die were my thoughts. I didn’t have that sort of money but managed a loan. I am 75 y.o. Yes it is disgusting. The system is broken. I had my op at my convenience. Tough choice? I will be paying it off until I’m 82. Unfortunately money talks. If worried go to see a private consultant. Between £180 to £200. I hope this helps. Good luck.

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I am sorry to hear that you were forced to go into debt to save your life. You obviously value health or you would not have gone to such extremes. Hopefully, you are feeling better and have a long healthy future ahead of you. However, I am sure that in the past you have benefited from our failing and broken NHS.

The NHS is indeed broken and might be beyond repair. However, did you know that the health secretary is trying to sneak in privatisation of our NHS by the back door, meaning without evidence or debate. If you value the NHS with all it’s faults and failures, then have a look at this petition to stop the health secretary from instigating irrevesible change without our knowlege or opinions being considered. Time is of the essence as May 2018 is the deadline.

petition.parliament.uk/peti...

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Are you saying you wouldn’t pay to save your life. An aquaintance has just died waiting for the same op as me. He didn’t pay; I did. If you call my actions extreme you offend me. I will not sign a petition. I have voted twice in the last 2 years and each time the Socialists have sold me down the river. Since when has Corbyn recognised working class people like me. He’s let me down.

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PhilGarner , I think you have read my post out of context.

At no point did I write anything to cause you offense or judge you for your actions therefore, I apologise if my words were not clear.

I used the term “or you would not have gone to such extremes”. I did not say that paying for your treatment was extreme, that is entirely your choice. What I think is extreme, is for a person of your advancing years to feel that the only option open to them is to take out a loan to pay for treatment.

I am sorry to hear that someone you know has passed away waiting for treatment. This should never happen but unfortunately out NHS is in crisis and priorities have to be set.

My point is that no one should be waiting for potentially lifesaving operations or other treatments, and no one should be put into the position where they are faced with taking on debt. Not everyone can afford a loan and not everyone would be accepted by a lending facility, especially when cardiac surgery is known to carry such high risks.

I sent you the link about saving the NHS from privatisation because I thought you might want to help save it.

It is the Conservative party who are trying to push through potentially detrimental changes to our NHS. The petition was organised to put a halt to these changes and get the bill returned to parliament for discussion and debate by all political parties. This will ensure that the public become aware of the health secretary’s intentions and then each person can contact their local MP and decide for themselves.

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Hi.... I agree with the previous post 're contacting the Secretary. I got great help and service from them... she even got the consultant to call me and talk me through a diagnosis that had been hurriedly given by his underling at an outpatient appointment. And he then put me under his care. Also whenappointments for tests that were supposed to be forthcoming didnt materialise....xagain the Secretary was there for me and found out when details had gone astray and got them back on track.

One bit of invaluable advice I got from one of the doctors early on was " at the hospital we are a large organisation and things can and do get mislaid - so if you don't hear please chase us... its better to chase than leave it. Don't expect that everything is running smoothly - and don't be afraid to call us"

This bit of advice really did help me to feel that I wasn't being a nuisance and that I should be checking if I didn't hear back. And for me the secretaries for the various requirements were invaluable ! All the best in your journey

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Morning All

Thank you all for your invaluable advise, I will certainly put it into practice. I’m one of those people who like to have a plan in place, I start to get worried if I don’t know what’s happening. I’m so glad I found this site you have all been lovely, I feel better already. It’s a lovely sunny day so think I’ll have a couple of hours tidying the garden!!!! Have a good day x

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Hi, Im in Yorkshire too so we can both enjoy the sunshine this morning. I also have mitral & aortic valve regurgitation, found on an Echo requested by my GP. (The bedside Echo done at the LGI Heart Centre didnt show it.) I agree with the other replies & would add that the results of all my tests went electronically to my GP. When I saw him I asked him for a copy, which he printed for me. The GP receptionists would not do that. The cardiologist secretaries are very helpful too. Clare

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For 12 months I had several consultants, test, scans etc.. with NO results. A new Doctor at my practice was very un-happy with the lack of progress and she immediately sent me to TIA. I was seen within 7 days. An MRI Scan together with all the usual test resulted in having a 24 hrs loop recorder inserted (under the skin) This within days showed arrhythmia & sinus bradycardia. I had a pacemaker inserted within 7 days. Whilst I still have the problems noted above the PM kicks in immediately. I now enjoy a full life. (82 years old, gardening & golf)

I would suggest you talk to your GP. With determination they can help ? Best of luck.

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Thank you for your posts, it’s lovely to hear other people’s stories and journeys through the system. I feel much more positive than I did, hope you all enjoy the nice sunny weather xx

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Hi Lindylou I have had two mitral valve operations one to repair then in 2016 I had it replaced which has not been an over whelming success however putting that aside my local hospital has a heart valve clinic and the doctor I see there has been wonderful so helpful do you not have a hospital near you that has one of these clinics it might be worth investigating. Hope all goes well x

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Hi Nanpan

Thank you for your post, I am going to do some research on the net to see what’s available in my area. X

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Hi

Hope you don’t mind me asking, but has the LGI got a specialist unit to deal with heart valve problems. Was thinking when I see my GP I could ask to be referred there, do you know how having this condition is graded. Eg mild, moderate, severe etc. Sorry for all the questions, your experience sounds similar to mine x

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Lindlou, I was in the same situation a few weeks ago having been let down by my cardiology team for the second time in two years .....

I did my research to see an independent cardiology team outside of my area and focused on what so I saw as being the top heart hospital in the UK based in London .......

From here I then undertook a search on a consultant that specialises in my particular condition and when I was satisfied that he/she was suitably qualified and that through the pictures supplied felt they were a person who I could work with, arranged for an immediate referral appointment by requesting my GP to send a letter without delay. This was done within 48 hours.

From this I then received an appointment by post for April

Not satisfied with this I politely contacted the consultants secretary requesting an earlier appointment as I was still suffering and had no immediate cover from my existing cardiologist due to my lack of confidence in them and care as a whole based on my previous bad experiences with them

I am pleased to say I am due to see the new cardiologist this week so all in all I have managed to do this all within six weeks and this is through pure determination and the will to move forward and to jump out of this intolerable rut I seemed to have be in. I did this through the mechanism of the NHS as well so no huge bills falling through my letterbox either The NHS with all its faults does have procedures to enable you to do this when the spirit is willing both from you and your GP, you just need to be persistent but polite in your approach and the same time not excepting NO as an answer.With this approach you WILL get the care you rightly deserve and no doubt paid for through the years of employment that you have paid into the NHS for that very care you need NOW!!!..... regards

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Thank you for your reply, I have now been referred to the heart valves clinic. So hopefully will get the care I require, I’m just worried I may need a mitral heart valve replacement in the future!!!

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Hi 55lindylou. Appreciate the distance may be an issue for you but I've had excellent cardiology and surgical care (aortic valve replacement in December) at Guy's and St Thomas's in London? Can't recommend a specific doctor - you're not really supposed to name individual doctors here publicly, quite rightly - though happy to pass on details if you want to DM. I know others on this site have travelled to GSTT from Yorkshire for surgery but obviously cardiology may be more trips over time. Good luck in your search! Nic x

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