Echocardiogram testing : Quick question... - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation
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Echocardiogram testing


Quick question I have been referred for a echocardiogram and also a 24hr ECG by my go around 3 weeks ago at the time my GP said this would be done within 6 weeks I was so my GP last week and was told to phone the referral management at my local hospital as they should have an appointment but most likely not sent a letter yet. However I phoned them today and was told it was a 20week wait for a cardiologist does this sound correct? As it seems a long time to wait for such a critical test?

12 Replies

Most Cardiology departments are stretched to the limits so waiting times are long, however you don't need to see a Cardiologist for the tests to be done so wait times for echo and 24hr monitor aren't usually so long, maybe try another hospital.

The standard for diagnostic tests in the NHS constitution is no more than 6 weeks for all but 1% of patients. According to NHS England published statistics 5.3% of patients are at present waiting longer for echocardiography so clearly the service is under some strain, but certainly you shouldn't have to wait 20 weeks. As bantam says, you don't need to see a cardiologist first.

GPs can often arrange these tests themselves so I would definitely chase this up rather than waiting for an appointment letter.

Often you need to be a bit proactive and phone the non-invasive cardiology department or whoever's making the referral to get things sorted. My hospital forgot about my MRI ( as did I!) but once I reminded them, it was only a 4 week wait. I've always found people very helpful but it can take a couple of calls to sort things out.

You should be able to get those tests done within roughly 6 weeks, but having been a cardiology patient for 9 years, I would always advise chasing everything up very regularly! Letters get lost, deleted off their computers, doctors go on 3 weeks holiday, go on night shifts, results don't get sent out etc etc. And then you get 2 appointments for the same thing at different hospitals. The staff are all great, but just way too busy.

I'm currently still waiting for 24 hour ECG results, after 2 months, so your question touched a nerve - good luck.

Yep. I had referral in January - appointment for consultant may

I was given an appointment 10 weeks from the GP making the request. I phoned the provider and was given an appointment for the following week. Its definitely worth asking. If you have no luck, try your GP.

Thank you all. I will chase this up again today and phone the referral management and also my GP.

I guess I am just a bit anxious about waiting, I have had numerous blood tests and ECGS and X-rays done over the past few months that have all came back clear however my GP has said although he is almost positive it won’t be anything heart related he wants me to have this done to rule anything out.

Would regular ECGs have picked up any problems?

My symptoms are I always get chest pain mostly left sided goes from a dull ache to stabbing pains and is constant and also feeling lightheaded every now and then. Don’t get breathless with anything and in otherwise great health no history of heart problems within my family. I feel that getting made to wait for answers to what it might be is making me worse so my own guess is it been anxiety but again I am just following advise and instruction from my GP


If these pains are such a worry to you, which you say (and quite understandable) could be exasperating the issue, then I would be taking a trip to A&E. These issues are serious and it's not as if you are not suffering is it? After all it is all for peace of mind and no one minds that!

Cmacd1992 in reply to Hidden

I have been to a&e numerous times and had ecgs and troponin tests. Last time I was at a&e I was told not to return unless I was struggling to breath (great advise I know). Been to my GP numerous times hence why I have been referred for more tests. This has been ongoing since January and took until 2 weeks ago to get my GP to finally refer me

Things seem to vary so much across the uk. I am awaiting the same tests as you and don't doubt I will have a long wait for the echo however I have a three week wait for the heart monitor as that can be organised by my GP but the echo has to be arranged by a cardiologist in my area. Things seem to vary so much dependent on where you live in the uk. Good luck.

My wait was 13 weeks for the tests. That was on top of the months lost as my GP forgot to do the referral. I paid privately in the end for the Cardiologist, echocardiogram and CT of my heart. Cardiologist was great and said to go back into the NHS system for further tests in the future. It was worth it as I’m sure stress makes it worse.


I also paid to see Cardiologist privately, cost was around £165 (£120 for a follow-up), and also paid for a echo and a 24 hour monitor, around £300 per test. Diagnosed & treated for AF within 10 days. Now back under NHS care.

Difference is AF was detected on a visit to A&E prior to this. Your case is different as nothing seems to have been found so far, but you are very symptomatic.

An echo and Cardiology appointment might be worth the money if you can afford it, for peace of mind.

I worked for the NHS for many years and it bugs me that I felt forced to go down this route as I couldn’t stand the anxiety caused by waiting.

All the best

Pat x

MilkfairyHeart Star

Hi it is important for the underlying cause of your chest pain to be found.

My particular type of unusual angina took a while to be diagnosed and recognised so you may well need to be persistent.

The BHF website has some useful information about the different causes of angina. The less common causes are more difficult to diagnose and less recognised but need to be ruled out too.

Managing our stress and anxiety is really important whatever the cause of our heart problems.

The Cardiac nurses on the BHF helpline are very knowledgeable too and a good source of support 0300 330 3311

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