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Non-Invasive Diagnostics and Cardiac Physiology

The non-invasive diagnostics unit offers a wide range of investigations for patients with suspected cardiac problems in both the outpatient and inpatient setting. Cardiac physiologists are supported by consultant cardiologists in the provision and interpretation of the various tests. The more complex imaging is undertaken by cardiologists with expertise in imaging and by radiologists. They provide peri-procedural imaging to both interventional and surgical procedures where required.

Papworth Hospital offers a wide range of non-invasive and invasive diagnostic procedures as well as interventional procedures for coronary disease, valve disorders, structural heart disorders, and arrhythmias. You may be asked to take more than one of the tests, often on the same day, to build up a complete picture of the health of your heart.

The tests are performed by our team of clinical physiologists, and the results assessed by one of our consultant cardiologists. The consultant will then either discuss the results with you in clinic or send the report to your GP.

The range of diagnostic tests and imaging designed to assess the structure and function of the heart include:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) (heart tracing)
  • Ambulatory ECG monitoring-holter recorders, loop recorders, cardiomemos
  • 24 hour blood pressure monitoring
  • Exercise Tolerance Test (ETT)
  • Tilt Testing
  • Transthoracic echocardiography (structure and function of the heart chambers and valves) - 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional studies
  • Trans-oesophageal echocardiography (diagnostic and also used during interventional procedures)
  • Stress Echocardiograms
  • Cardiac Computerised Tomography (Cardiac-CT), Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging (Cardiac-MRI) and Radio-isotope studies (nuclear medicine)

If at any point you have questions or are concerned about any of the tests, please speak with your clinician. There is also a lot of information available on the British Heart Foundation website.

An expert radiology service supports diagnostic imaging at the hospital. Supervised by specialist Radiologists, the service includes a full range of state-of-the-art equipment.

Our large team of specialist cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons and radiologists work closely together to ensure that the most appropriate investigations and clinical decisions are made in response to the needs and expectations of our patients.

There are an increasing number of multi-disciplinary team meetings to facilitate this eg structural heart MDT, specialist valve MDT and heart (coronary) MDT meetings. These meetings also link via video to neighbouring hospitals to provide expert input into the clinical pathways of patients undergoing evaluation and being considered for referral to Papworth Hospital.

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