In this section we have provided answers to frequently asked questions that we hope you will find useful and informative.
Naturally the answers we give can only be of a general nature and are not based upon any specific case. If you have a specific query or believe you have a heart rhythm problem and would like to make an appointment with us, please consult your GP for a referral.
We are usually able to see you within a week of receiving the referral letter. It may take longer if you request to see a specific consultant.
We are happy to see anyone who feels they may benefit from our services. We require a letter of referral from your doctor or specialist which you or your referrer can post, fax or email to us. Please contact our practice manager to arrange an initial consultation. If you have previously had a consultation with one of our consultants, you can book an appointment without needing a new referral letter. Our practice manager contact details are here.
We would be very happy to see you for a consultation to discuss your symptoms, arrange tests if necessary and then give you advice. Unfortunately we are not able to give you advice via email or directly via the website. The information on our website is for general information only and does not replace the consultation process.
The most useful test is an ECG (electrocardiogram), a heart rhythm recording, during your palpitations. This can be done in some GP surgeries, A&E departments and by paramedics. This recording is sometimes difficult to obtain if the palpitations only last a few minutes. The ECG gives the specialist a good idea of what further tests or treatment may be necessary. We recommend that patients keep copies of their ECGs and take these copies along to the consultation with a heart rhythm specialist. Other tests such as echocardiography (ultrasound imaging of the heart), long term ECG monitoring and exercise testing (ECG recording whilst walking on a treadmill) may be advised by your doctor.
Most palpitations are not dangerous but can be bothersome. Tragically, in a few cases, palpitations can result in sudden death. If you experience any palpitations we recommend that you get this investigated by a doctor.
A consultation with one of our consultants should take about 40 minutes. We will ask you about your symptoms and examine you. In most cases we will perform an ECG to record your heart rhythm. The likely diagnosis will be discussed with you and if any further tests are necessary, we will explain these to you. Throughout the consultation you will be able to ask questions and raise any concerns.
Please bring the referral letter if we have not received it, any previous ECGs that you might have, a list of your current medication and someone to accompany you if you want them in the consultation.
You need to choose someone who will listen to your individual needs, be able to give clear information and guidance and help you make a decision about undergoing a procedure or operation. Having a procedure or operation may not be the best management for your symptoms. If you decide to have a procedure, you want a consultant that will perform the procedure with the minimum risk and discomfort, with the best chance of curing you of your fast or irregular heart beats.
1. Personal recommendations – it is important if you know someone who has been treated by a consultant as their experience can inform your decision.
2. GP or specialist recommendations – it is helpful to ask to be referred to the best person in your area for the operation, not the one closest or the one with a shortest waiting time.
3. Web search – you can search for specialists on-line but this may not produce independent information.
Questions you could ask about or directly to your consultant/specialist:
- What is the level or degree of specialisation they have in the area you need treatment for?
- How many years experience they have with this treatment?
- How many of these procedures have they performed?
- What are their success and complication rates and are these personal or general published figures?
A more experienced operator is far more likely to achieve success in your case at the minimum risk. Someone who does many different procedures or whose principle interest is in a different area is likely to have less experience in the specific area you need.
Our NHS clinics are available to patients across the UK. Your GP can refer you directly to see one of our consultants at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.