The Cardiology Department performs all non-invasive cardiac diagnostic procedures. The only procedure that will be performed for a General Practitioner is the ECG. From 14th July 2014, ECG’s ordered by GP’s will only be conducted on Wednesdays by appointment. Patients must phone the department on 1 809 2444 to make an appointment as the current GP walk in service will no longer exist. All other procedures must be requested by a Consultant within Beaumont Hospital.
Please bring a list of your medications with you for all the following tests:
An Electrocardiograph (or ECG as it is commonly called) is a measure of the electrical activity of your heart. The technician will place ten electrodes on your arms, legs and chest and wires are attached to these electrodes to take the measurement.
This test is completely pain free and will take approximately five minutes to perform although there might be a small wait depending on how busy the department is at the time of your visit. If the technician determines that it is necessary for you to see one the doctors after performing your ECG you might have to wait a while to do so.
From July 14th 2014, ECG's ordered by GP's will only be conducted on Wednesdays by appointment only. Patients must phone the department on 8092444 to make the appointment.
The holter monitor is a twenty-four hour monitor for your heart. You will have to attend the department on the morning of your appointment to have the monitor fitted and the monitor will have to be returned the following day before 10am. If for any reason you may have some difficulty returning the monitor the next day, please inform the technician before it is fitted as a new appointment may have to be arranged.
The monitor has to be worn during the day and night for the twenty-four hours, and we will give you a diary to fill in should you have any symptoms.
A patient activated monitor is a monitor that is worn for seven days. You may activate the monitor when you are aware of your symptoms. These monitors are designed to be used by patients that only experience their symptoms on an irregular basis and do may not have them recorded on one of the twenty-four monitors. The monitor will be worn day and night for the seven days but must be removed for baths and showers.
Exercise Stress Testing
An exercise stress test is designed to test the performance of your heart by imposing a workload on your heart. This is done by asking you to walk on a treadmill. At all times your ECG and your blood pressure will be monitored so you will be completely safe when performing the test. This test will ensure that enough oxygen is getting to all of your heart muscle when you put it under the pressure of exercise.
It is important that you stay on the treadmill as long as possible, as the longer you stay on the more information is obtained from the test. If you experience any chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness or any other symptoms, notify the technician and doctor present immediately.
It is necessary for you to wear loose comfortable clothing and comfortable walking shoes for this test. Sometimes it may be necessary for you to stop some of your medications before undertaking this test, so please talk to either the doctor ordering the test or the technician making your appointment.
Trans Thoracic Echocardiograms
An echocardiogram is the ultrasound test on your heart. This will mean the technician will have to put some jelly on your chest to take the pictures. It enables the technician to assess the function of your heart muscle and valves. This test is completely pain free and will take approximately half an hour to complete. Sometimes there may be a small delay.
If your doctor has ordered a trans-oesophageal echocardiogram you will probably already have had a transthoracic echocardiogram performed. The doctors did not feel that this echocardiogram provided them with adequate information and would like to perform a trans-oesophageal echo to obtain more accurate information.
The test will involve a probe being passed down your throat into your oesophagus, from here vey accurate pictures of your heart may be obtained. To prepare for this a local anaesthetic spray will be administered to the back of your throat to numb it. You will also be given sedation through an intravenous line to make you sleepy while the test is preformed.
For this test it is essential than you are fasting from midnight the night before and that you are accompanied by someone who can drive you home afterwards as it takes a while for the sedation to wear off. If someone does not accompany you the test will not be performed.
It is also important to let the doctor or technician know if you have had any surgery performed on your throat, oesophagus or stomach in the past or if you have difficulty in swallowing or if you have any history of bleeding in the stomach as this may lead to cancellation of the test. This test may take anything between half an hour to perform. It is also important to let the doctor and technician know if you have any dentures as these will have to be removed.
Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram
If your doctor has ordered a dobutamine stress echo, it is because you were either unable to do an exercise test or the exercise test you did was inconclusive. During this test a drug called dobutamine will be administered through an intravenous line in your arm and ultrasound pictures will be taken of your heart using the echocardiogram machine. Dobutamine is a drug that is designed to speed up your heart rate as if you were exercising.
You may feel nauseous, dizzy or you may experience shortness of breath, palpitations or chest pain during this test. The reason for this is that you are lying down while your heart rate is increasing. It is important that you inform the doctor and technician present if your have any of these or any other symptoms.
For this test it is not necessary to fast. You may have a light breakfast or lunch. It is essential that you are accompanied by someone who can drive you home afterwards or, for your safety, the test will not be performed. You may arrange for someone to pick you up when the test is completed if this is easier for you.
It may also be necessary to stop some of your medications before this test, so please talk to the doctor ordering the test or to the technician making the appointment.
This test might take one-half hour to an hour to complete.