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British Heart Foundation
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Is there any way I request a test to see if I have a clogged artery?

I'm a 28 year old male from the UK. I have an average build and as far as I know there is nothing wrong with my heart other than the fact I suffer from left bundle branch block which was diagnosed in 2015. From the age of 16 up until the age of 26 I was a moderate smoker and I smoked anywhere between five and ten cigarettes a day. I quit more or less straight away when I began to experience pain in my chest after smoking. This was a sharp, stabbing type of pain which, like a pulse, would occur every time my heart contracted. These episodes typically lasted anywhere from a couple of seconds up to half a minute and were very scary.

Fortunately for me, no sooner had I quit smoking than the pain departed from me. However there has still been a handful of times in which it has returned, the most recent of which being just under a week ago whilst I was out shopping and lasting for about 20 seconds. This most recent occurrence was particularly uncomfortable and harrowing, to the extent I have been more than a little worried ever since.

This is why I have booked an appointment to see my doctor soon as I would like to request some type of scan to check if my arteries are clogged or to determine if there are any other problems which need seeing to. The problem is that I highly doubt the doctor will grant my request for a scan but will more than likely to listen to my heart using his stethoscope, give me a clean bill of health and then send me home. Such an outcome as this will do nothing to help my anxiety so should I be refused a scan I was just wondering if anyone could tell me if there was anywhere else I could go to get a scan privately. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Regards,

A worried man

5 Replies
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If you get nowhere and remain concerned you could ask for a second opinion. An initial consultation with a cardiologist would cost round £200. After that prices increase rapidly - hereabouts (Hertfordshire) and angiogram is ~£2000.

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I agree your GP is unlikely to order you a scan, typically, if they think there is an issue they is more likely refer you to a cardiologist who may/may not feel a scan is warranted. As MichaelJH has already stated, you can ask for a 2nd opinion (within the NHS) and you can go privately (and again being a Herts resident, I agree with MichaelJH's costings) - an Echo comes in at around £400

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They look at your arteries using an angiogram and there are risks associated with this, so they usually need good justification to do this. You could ask for a cholesterol test, as high cholesterol can block your arteries also.

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Hi. As others have said they wouldn’t necessarily send you for a scan. But you should explain that you’ve had chest pain and any other symptoms that you experienced. Most areas have rapid access chest pain clinics which you should see if you can have an appointment with. I live in the north east and have been seen in these previously. Also if it happens again then it’s not unreasonable to attend A&E.

If you chose private there are a number of health care companies that offer full health assessments and include a scan of the heart as well as ECG and exercise tests. I think they come in at about £900.

I would recommend that you fully discuss with your GP about being referred to a rapid access chest pain clinic though so you can get into the system. Also you may want to talk to the BHF helpline their nurses maybe able to advise. Hope this helps. Take care. Zena

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Agree with most of this. High cholesterol and high blood pressure are indicators that you may be developing a problem, but not always. 7 years before my heart attack I had a full heart check up - ECG, exercise tests, blood works etc and was told I had the heart and athlete would be proud to have. Now I have a quadruple bypass and pills to take for life.

I went to my doctor complaining of chest pains and I had the stethoscope test and nothing else was done, not even my blood pressure being taken. My heart attack was less than 6 months later. The only way they can "see" if you arteries are blocked is with an angiogram I believe, although this is not the only thing that goes wrong with hearts.

Hopefully, you are just being paranoid, but IMHO, better to know you are being paranoid rather than covering a problem. Prevention is better than treatment!

Also worth noting, if your heart is having trouble and you are having mini-MIs, I was told that it would show on an ECG.

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