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What should I expect at my first visit to a cardiologist?

When you go to a cardiologist for the first time, as with any doctor, there are things you can do to prepare in advance.

  • Compile a personal health history and a health history of your family.
  • Gather together any recent test results and a list of medications you are taking.
  • Jot down notes about symptoms you have been experiencing.
  • Make a list of questions you want to ask your doctor.

To learn more about your condition, your cardiologist may refer you for any of a number of diagnostic tests. Here are some examples of tests your cardiologist may request:

  • blood tests
  • stress (or treadmill) test
  • nuclear stress test or echo stress test
  • echocardiogram
  • computed tomography (CT) scan
  • positron emission tomography (PET) scan or magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) scan
  • coronary angiogram

 

When you go to a cardiologist for the first time, as with any physician, there are things you can do to prepare in advance. Compile a personal health history and a health history of your family. Also gather together any recent test results and a list of all the medications, supplements and vitamins you are taking. The cardiologist will consider all of this information while assessing your condition.

To learn more about your condition, your cardiologist may refer you for any of a number of non-invasive diagnostic tests. Non-invasive refers to tests that do not require insertion of diagnostic tubes into the heart or arteries. Here are some examples of tests your cardiologist may request:

  • stress (or treadmill) test,
  • nuclear stress test (exercise and medication),
  • echocardiogram (exercise and medication),
  • computed tomography (CT) angiogram scan of the heart arteries,
  • positron emission tomography (PET) scan or a magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) scan.

During these tests, you will be attended by technologists or physicians who are specially trained in operating the diagnostic equipment. Your cardiologist—or another cardiologist with special training in interpreting echocardiogram and other images and diagnostic data—will review and analyze your test results. If these test results suggest blockages in your arteries or other problems, your cardiologist may refer you to an interventional cardiologist (a specialist in procedures such as angiograms, angioplasty and stenting).

At your first visit to a cardiologist you will get a thorough review of your medical history and assessment of risk factors of coronary artery disease. Blood pressure, heart rate and electrocardiogram will be obtained. You will have a complete cardiac/vascular exam. The cardiologist will review the data with you and answer all your cardiac questions or concerns.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.