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Trip to cardiologist - what to ask


EmilyGF
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Please don't quote. Will delete later.

DH asked me to come to the cardiologist with him as he's worried that he may have a heart problem that runs in his family. So far, doctors have told him that is all stress (he's under a lot and is thin as a pole).

He had a stress test this week and will be getting the results. What do I need to ask for / about? What should we press for, test-wise? 

I probably wouldn't post this online, except that you guys have such good advice.

Emily

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I also have the experience that cardiologists are pretty good with patient communication. Any time you go with someone to be their medical advocate, I feel like the thing is to make sure you know what's the central question YOU need answered and not to let the doctor distract you from that. Their agenda isn't the patient agenda. And that's okay - they're the ones in the know. But sometimes they come in, take over, fulfill their agenda, and your question as a patient is totally steamrolled. So you go home not having achieved your goal. That can be okay health wise - maybe the doctor's agenda is better. But it's terrible worry wise. And sometimes it's not good health wise either because your concern is something the doctor just isn't hearing. Many doctor's are just on autopilot looking at their agenda and don't do a good job listening to the real issue you're having, thus missing that the pain isn't what they have assumed or that the family history isn't what they thought from the overview. Basically, I think your job is to be sure your dh's agenda gets fulfilled - even if the answer is, "here are the specific reasons you don't need to worry."

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I find doctors sometimes say “if you have any other complications or symptoms let me know and we can schedule a follow up”. I like to get definitive answer on what they mean.

 

I also type up my chief complaints and questions and give it to them in writing. This really helps to make sure they answer my questions but also helps to make sure I give them all the information I have in a brief format. If any testing has been done briefly write down the dates / location preformed / why ordered/ who ordered it and results. It may be in your chart but this makes it super easy for the doctor to have a conversation with you and not have their nose in the computer digging for information. 

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If there is a specific health concern that runs in the family, I would be sure to bring that up if that is what you want the cardiologist to check on.  Being specific on your concerns, I find, really helps.

DS's cardiologist was always good about answering any concerns or questions we had.  He recently had to go back as an adult, and being straight forward about what he needed/wanted accomplished made things go really smoothly.

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The answer to your question depends on what the health problem is that runs in your DH’s family. You may not be comfortable sharing that online.

 

Here are general questions-

 how is condition x diagnosed? Which tests are performed, and what do you look for on those tests?

 How does condition x usually manifest itself? Early signs?

 What preventive measures can We take to avoid or mitigate effects of condition x?

 Are there any routine screenings we should do? 
 

cardiologists vary widely. those in academic centers often take the time to explain and educate. those in private practice-well, it’sa mixed bag

Edited by WTM
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1 hour ago, EmilyGF said:

DH asked me to come to the cardiologist with him as he's worried that he may have a heart problem that runs in his family. So far, doctors have told him that is all stress (he's under a lot and is thin as a pole).

We had something like this happen recently. We emphasized that we don't want to be the ones making the call about whether or not the things that run in the family are starting to play out yet or not, nor are we convinced that something insidious is happening now. We just have some genuine concerns that are in that general wheelhouse (current issues, some recommended screenings), and we want someone to know what all is possible and to recommend testing, if needed, with the various hereditary information in mind. 

In the case of one hereditary issue, it was nice to find out that the specialist was on the same page about what screening is needed and how often as it has changed over time, and because we've had family members given really bad advice about the same thing. It was nice to know we don't have to beg for that screening when the time comes. 

In the case of the current symptoms that are relevant to the family history, another test was recommended as a rule out for something we didn't consider. 

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Just curious if you are able to see the test results in the patient portal so you would know what to expect tomorrow?  DH had his stress test in late summer and just had his follow-up today.  We were able to see his results very quickly to know there was something to be worried about.

 

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