Cardiologist appointment - what to ask? - British Heart Fou...

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Cardiologist appointment - what to ask?

GracieOS profile image
9 Replies

I have an appointment with my Cardiologist on Sunday a year on from my diagnosis of heart failure. At that time my EF was 30 to 35, measured by echocardiogram. Since then I eventually got an MRI, after making my way to the top of an 11 month waiting list, and had a stress test a couple of weeks ago. My nurse has told me that the MRI measured my EF at 53. The MRI failed to identify any cause for the heart failure. I have no idea what the stress test results are. But clearly the meds are having a positive effect.

My cholesterol is highish at 5.5 and last BP measurement was 'elevated' at 130/80. I have regular ectopic heart beats. Apart from tiredness, and therefore a need to pace myself, I have no other symptoms. This week I've done 2 walks with my dog of around 10km, on both taking it slow and incorporating a cafe stop half way.

To get the best out of this appointment I'm looking for advice on what questions to ask? I do want to ask about prognosis, but I'm scared of the answer I may get. I'm 56 and considering early retirement so an idea of prognosis is key as clearly there are significant financial implications I need to consider alongside health issues.

Any advice much appreciated. Thank you.

9 Replies
Spetses profile image

I would obviously ask about all test results ,ask if you can attend cardiac rehab class if not already done so & find out what exercise regime would be good for you as this will help bring your ejection fraction higher but I think you've done well in a year ,just ask what else you can do to improve this diet exercise etc

GracieOS profile image
GracieOS in reply to Spetses

Thank you. I never thought of asking for cardiac rehab, I'll definitely mention that.

Spetses profile image
Spetses in reply to GracieOS

Very welcome ,it's a good environment to work on your exercise you feel safer less anxious having trained staff around you & they can definitely help you with your exercise goals good luck

I have only just joined, looking for answers. However, looks like my first post will be a response!

In my journey I also had a low EF from an echocardiogram (30) but was told 1. Not to worry about it as was symptom free

2. Echo is not the most accurate

An EF of 53 is in the "normal" range.

Your blood pressure is pretty normal

Your cholesterol is too (mine was around 6 and arteries clear)

10km walks are excellent.

You sound fit and healthy and the only thing I would be wanting answers for would be why the extopics (not that they are usually an issue).

Good luck with the meeting!

GracieOS profile image
GracieOS in reply to

Thank you. My appointment did go well. Told being symptom free is important and improved heart function good. That if symptom free status and improved heart function maintained for 3 to 4 years my prognosis is good. Main issue is ectopics, by a process of elimination he thinks these maybe behind the heart failure, no other cause identified. Told to keep active, minimum of 30 minute a day at least 5 times a week and give up caffeine. Already on low alcohol intake, said one glass of wine a day is OK. He can't up beta blockers, I'm on 5mg a day, to deal with ectopics as my heart rate is low, 40 at rest.

in reply to GracieOS

Glad the news was good and as you have a dog, 30 mins 5 times a week should be a doddle. I have 2 dogs and 30 mins a day is not enough for them.

On the ectopics - I have had them for 30 odd years and mine were ascribed to a leaky valve (i.e. the valve causing the ectopics, not the other way round). They stayed fairly low for most of that time and the cardiologist always said not to worry about them. I also had a low heart rate and low BP. Ectopics could be made worse by caffeine, chocolate (esp. dark), wine etc. All the good stuff ;o)

It’s hard to draw comparisons, as everyone is different. Sounds like you are on track though.

GracieOS profile image
GracieOS in reply to

My dog is a boarder collie, so definitely needs lots of exercise 🙂. I'd pretty much given up on wine, just a glass a night at weekends now. Now dropped caffeine to just one weak tea first thing in the morning. Chocolate has probably crept up, compensation for wine and caffeine, but I guess I'll need to watch that too.

I hope you are getting answers you need.

in reply to GracieOS

Just a couple of experiences on caffeine etc.

It’s not always caffeine that triggers ectopics, also can be caused by tannin. This is in black tea and red wine.

I drink filter coffee and found that some blends cause a lot of ectopics and some almost none. Currently using Zoega (Swedish) that I drink daily.

For tea, I use Redbush tea. It is a bit marmite in that some love it and others hate it. Big benefit is that it has no caffeine or tannin.

...and I know the collie exercise thing - I have two Beardies

My answers will come I am sure. I just need to form the questions. Main one was about travel insurance after surgery. Am currently exploring previous posts.

GracieOS profile image
GracieOS in reply to

BHF have travel insurance companies they suggest, I used one of them. They were good, easy to sort out.

Thanks for the info, but oh no, its red wine I drink / like! 🙁, may have to go white. I am weaning myself off black tea to green tea and from expresso/ black americano to decaffeinated black coffee. I'll look out for the swedish coffee you mentioned.

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