HeartScreen Program

Who is this cardiac health screening program aimed at?

Heart disease can affect anybody and the program is appropriate for all adults living in the UK who are concerned about having heart disease now or developing it in the future. There are, however, certain groups of patients who are at increased risk of coronary artery disease. These include:

  • Current or past smokers
  • Those with a family history of coronary disease or sudden death
  • Those with a history of hypertension
  • Those with high cholesterol levels
  • Diabetic patients
  • Men over the age of 40
  • Women over the age of 50

Patients with one or more of the ‘at risk’ factors listed above are those who would particularly benefit from cardiac screening.

Can you really afford to risk your future health and potentially your life for the sake of a comprehensive cardiac screening program now?

Cardiovascular disease is the most common and significant serious disease in the developed world. In the UK cardiovascular disease remains the most common cause of death affecting approximately 30% of the population. The majority of these deaths, approximately 20% of men and 17% of women, are caused by coronary artery disease. Currently approximately 3.4 million adults in the UK have established coronary artery disease. It is often known as the ‘silent killer’ as patients are sadly often not aware that they have a heart problem until they suffer a fatal heart attack. In many cases specialist screening may have identified early signs for coronary disease and/or risk factors which contribute to the development of coronary artery disease later in life. Early specialist treatment and education of patients at risk can reduce the risk of adverse cardiac events occurring in the future.

We are fortunate at West Kent Cardiology to have the technology and skills to screen apparently healthy people and identify those at risk. In the majority or cases we are able to reassure patients and offer them the peace of mind that they are low risk of cardiac disease but for a minority early detection and management could prove to be a life-saver in the future.

Why should I have a HeartScreen performed?

Unlike many other medical conditions most potential cardiac problems can be detected and treated at an early stage to reduce the occurrence of serious cardiac events in the future. Patients with the early stages of coronary disease often do not experience any symptoms so whilst you may currently feel fit and well, a comprehensive cardiac screen would give you the peace of mind that you are at risk. Similarly, if we do identify factors that might lead to cardiac problems in the future you can be reassured that we will recognise and treat them now to reduce your risk in later life.

Is a HeartScreen needed for fit young people?

In many parts of the developed world, particularly in Italy and parts of the USA, it is now routine to screen young people undertaking competitive sport for conditions that might place them at risk of ‘Sudden Cardiac Death in the Young’. Whilst this is an uncommon condition, affecting, in those aged 35 years or less, approximately 1 person in 100,000 per year it is devastating when it does occur. Sports activity in adolescents and young adults is associated with an increased risk of sudden cardiac death. Sudden cardiac death is predominantly caused by pre-existing cardiac abnormalities rather than the sporting activity itself.

What does the HeartScreen program consist of?

1. Consultation and medical examination

A detailed consultation and medical examination with one of our specialist cardiac doctors which will include:

  • Detailing any current cardiac symptoms
  • An analysis of your cardiac risk factor profile
  • Summary of past medical history and current medications
  • A detailed cardiovascular examination

2. Specialist cardiac investigations

Following the initial consultation patients will undergo an intensive series of out patient investigations which will comprehensively assess the overall structure and function of the heart. These will include:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)

An electrical trace of your heart which provides information on the electrical conduction through the heart.

  • Cholesterol test

A blood test to determine your cholesterol level, a major pre-disposing factor to coronary artery disease.

  • Echocardiogram

A specialist ultrasound scan of your heart to review its structure and function. This includes a detailed review of the heart valves, chambers and the heart muscle.

  • Exercise stress test

A walking test on a treadmill designed to assess the state of the blood flow through the coronary arteries. This can identify patients with obstructive coronary artery disease.

  • CT coronary calcium score

An optional investigation (undertaken at Lifescan in Tunbridge Wells at an additional cost) to assess the levels of calcium in your coronary arteries. This is an nindicator of early coronary artery disease. Our cardiac doctor will discuss this investigation with you at the time of your initial consultation.

3. Review and report

Once all or your investigations have been completed you will have a summary consultation with your doctor to review the results and identify any current or potential problems with your heart in the future.

If your HeartScreen suggests that you may require additional cardiac investigations or treatment these will be discussed with you and a management plan recommended.

A detailed report will be compiled for you to keep, summarising your HeartScreen results along with recommendations and advice for the management of current problems and minimizing the risk of future coronary events.

How long will the HeartScreen take?

As you will have seen the cardiac screen incorporates a number of investigations which take varying degrees of time to undertake. Whilst we will try and reduce the time you spend with us to a minimum in reality you should expect to be with us for approximately 2 hours.

When are HeartScreen appointments available?

We offer a range of screening clinics each week including some evening and Saturday appointments to accommodate people with busy schedules.

What happens if the HeartScreen detects a problem with my heart?

The results of your investigations will be discussed in detail with you in your follow up consultation with your cardiac specialist. He will give you recommendations as to whether you need any further more specialist tests or treatments and this will be detailed in your HeartScreen report. We recommend that this is discussed with your General Practitioner. If necessary and appropriate your General Practitioner could then refer you to one of our Consultant Cardiologists for more detailed review. Your HeartScreen doctor would also be happy to make this referral for you at your request.