Cardiology

Cardiology is the specialty within medicine that looks at the heart and blood vessels.  Your heart consists of four chambers, which are responsible for pumping blood to your lungs and then the rest of your body. The study of the heart includes the heart muscle (the myocardium), the valves within the heart between the chambers, the blood vessels that supply blood (and hence oxygen and nutrients) to the heart muscle, and the electrical system of the heart which is what controls the heart rate.


Team:

Dr Gerry Devlin and Dr Tim Roberts are experienced cardiologists who provide locally based imaging, treatment and management. 

Acute cardiology clinical nurse specialists are responsible for coordinating the cardiology outpatient service.  This includes liaison with Primary Care Providers, Consultant Physicians and Waikato Cardiologists. Weekly Nurse-led follow-up clinics for patients who are discharged after an acute cardiac event or who return from Waikato after cardiac intervention. 

Objectives: to provide education, advocacy, referral, ongoing support and seamless transfer of care to the patient’s primary health care provider.

Heart Failure clinical nurse specialists are able to offer education to patients with new onset or ongoing heart failure.  Depending on diagnosis, clients may be added to a long-term case list and managed in the community and/or through clinics. Objectives: integrating existing networks between primary, secondary and tertiary care and utilizing multidisciplinary networks to improve health outcomes.


To be referred:

Your GP will refer you to one of our clinics if they are concerned about your heart and want a specialist opinion.  The referral is prioritised depending on urgency with waiting times.

You may be sent a questionnaire prior to your clinic visit to assist us with making a diagnosis and determining if any tests need to be done prior to you seeing a specialist. 


Exams and procedures:

Please list the procedures and treatments here so we can link the services to another site which explains them.

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

An ECG is a recording of your heart's electrical activity.… More

Exercise ECG

An ECG is a recording of your heart's electrical activity. Electrode patches are attached to your skin to measure the electrical impulses given off by your heart. The result is a trace that can be read by a doctor.  It can give information of previous heart attacks or problems with the heart rhythm.

Depending on your history, examination and ECG, you may go on to have other tests.

Blood Tests

You are likely to have blood tests done before coming to the clinic to check your cholesterol level and looking for evidence of diabetes.  These blood tests no longer require you to be fasting and can be done at any time of the day.

Echocardiogram

Echocardiography is also referred to as cardiac ultrasound and is performed by a specially trained technician. This test (referred to as an echocardiogram) uses high frequency sound waves to generate images of your heart that are displayed on a monitor.

During the test, you generally lie on your back or left side; gel is applied to your skin to increase the conductivity of the ultrasound waves. A technician then moves the small, plastic transducer over your chest. The test is painless and can take from 10 minutes to an hour. The machine analyses the information and produces the images which are then analysed and reported upon by the technician and doctor.

Echocardiography can help in the diagnosis of many structural heart problems including assessment of the size of the chambers and pumping action of the heart, defining the extent of previous heart attacks, assessing valve disorders, holes between heart chambers and fluid around the heart (pericardial effusion).

Coronary Angiogram

This test is performed to accurately define the anatomy of the blood vessels supplying your heart muscle with its oxygen. It reveals the presence of narrowings in the heart's circulation that may have been suspected from your symptoms of chest pain or shortness of breath or the results of previous tests such as an exercise test or stress echocardiogram. It is performed by a specialist team including a cardiologist. 

Cardiovascular Disease

This refers to narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle. The heart, like all other organs in the body, needs a constant supply of oxygen and energy. Narrowed arteries are unable to keep up with the demand needed to supply the heart muscle with blood. Prolonged oxygen lack can cause damage to the heart muscle (heart attack).

The most common symptom of this problem is chest pain or chest tightness that occurs when you exert yourself (angina). Typical angina chest pain is a heavy sensation in your chest associated with shortness of breath.  It sometimes radiates to your arms and can make you dizzy or sweaty, or feel like being sick.  Not everybody experiences the same sensation and any one of those symptoms can represent angina.  For some people shortness of breath on exertion occurs without pain or tightness and represents their version of "angina". If your GP thinks you may have angina he/she will refer you for an assessment to plan treatment. Depending on the results of your tests you may be recommended to have a procedure to correct the narrowing of the blood vessels, either balloon angioplasty with stenting or coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG).

Heart Failure

Heart failure refers to the heart failing to pump efficiently. There are many conditions that cause this including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, viral infections, alcohol, rhythm abnormalities and diseases affecting the valves of the heart or the heart muscle itself.  When the heart pumps inefficiently a number of symptoms occur, their degree dependant on the cause and severity of the condition.  The main symptoms are tiredness, breathlessness on exertion or lying flat, and ankle swelling.  Doctors often refer to oedema, which means fluid retention usually in your feet or lungs as a result of the heart not pumping efficiently.

Tests involved for diagnosing possible causes of heart failure include:

Blood tests

Chest X-ray

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

Echocardiogram (Cardiac ultrasound)

Angiogram.

Cardiac Arrhythmias

Your heart rate is controlled by a complex electrical system within the heart muscle which drives it to go faster when you exert yourself and slower when you rest.  A number of conditions can affect the heart rate or rhythm.

Valve Disease

Your heart consists of 4 chambers that receive and send blood to the lungs and body.

Disorders affecting valves can either cause stenosis (a narrowing) or regurgitation (leakage after the valve has closed).  Depending on what valve is involved and how severe the damage is, it may put the heart under increased strain or make it pump less efficiently. Either can result in symptoms of heart failure (see above).


How to get in touch:

Tel: 06 869 0500 extn. 8882

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