One of the founding values that I have built my practice on, is that I believe in treating patients as a whole, rather than a result on a piece of paper like an ECG or a scan.
The sort of problems that I deal with – chest pain, palpitations and shortness of breath, can be caused by a variety of issues, not only with your heart
…it may be a problem with your lungs
…or the muscles around your ribs
…and it may be stress related or have an emotional element
Furthermore, it can be a combination of these things.
We are very good these days at pinpointing the location of the trouble, especially when it comes to ruling out anything serious, but tests are only a snapshot of what is going on and things can and do develop over time.
There are several reasons that I always offer my patients a follow up appointment* and whether or not you take it, I am keen to point out that you can get in touch and book in to see me without having to go through your GP if you are ever worried or have questions.
• REASON 1 – Peace of mind
There is a significant psychological element to anything to do with your heart and many of my patients are reassured when the tests come back negative and there is nothing sinister to find, however, they still like to come back for regular check-ups for peace of mind.
When I see patients in the NHS, or for insured patients, I am often encouraged to discharge them back to their GP, but this has never sat comfortably with me, so in my own Private Practice, I like all my patients to know that I am always there for them at the end of the phone.
• REASON 2 – Things change
When I see a patient in the clinic, I will examine them and may perform tests, but these will only give me a picture of what is going on in that moment in time
…. and things change.
Just because your heart is in a normal rhythm when the ECG was done, does not mean it will always be that way.
A normal blood test is reassuring, but the levels could start to change at any time and if we are not keeping an eye on them, there is a possibility things could be missed.
Furthermore, your symptoms may change
…things may get worse, or you may start experiencing something different.
It is important not to ‘leave it and hope it gets better’
It may be nothing, or it may be something, but it is important to get it checked out and if you have a follow up appointment, then that can be an ideal time to go over everything
…in fact, if things change significantly, then don’t wait for your follow up appointment, but get in touch and I will be happy to bring your appointment forward.
• REASON 3 – To monitor the effects of treatment
Medicine is not a precise science and it is essential to monitor the effects of any treatment or intervention. Sometimes things may need to be tweaked to optimise the benefits and to limit the side effects.
All treatments will have some degree of potential side effects and some treatments are more effective in certain patients than others.
We need to keep an eye on how things are going, to make sure that everything is optimised. This might mean that we may need to change the dose or type of treatment your are receiving and it may mean stopping or starting a treatment.
Many cardiologists rely on your GP to monitor the effects of treatment, which is perfectly acceptable
…but I like to give my patients the option to come and see me, to take the pressure off the GP service and to give a level of continuity of care.
• REASON 4 – New treatments are always coming out
Medical advancements and research is a continuously ongoing field and a large part of my job is keeping up to date with the latest developments.
This is one of the benefits of being a cardiologist who specialises in rhythm disorders, because I can be at the forefront of any new technologies.
For example, in the last 5 years there have been 2 new drugs for heart failure so if you want state of the art care it is worth checking in with me once in a while.
• REASON 5 – Maintain awareness of your heart health
I find that patients who come back to see me regularly at the clinic are more aware of their symptoms and tend to look after themselves well.
It is not all about taking tablets or having a medical intervention, as lifestyle changes can have a profound effect on your risk of heart disease.
Being aware of the need to maintain a balanced diet and a healthy weight. Stopping smoking and being mindful of the need to reduce stress can have as much of an effect on your heart health than medication (and more!)
So, you see, there are several reasons for you to keep in touch and come back to the clinic for a follow up appointment.
If you don’t already have a follow up appointment and would like to arrange one, feel free to get in touch by phone on 01634 510 521 or email: email@example.com , or you can get message me on our new WhatsApp number, 07878 214940.
*insurance companies will often only cover a limited number of follow up appointments, but I offer a self-pay service where you can ‘pay as you go’ for follow up appointments not covered by your insurance