Cardiovascular (heart) disease is one of the world’s biggest killers and claims close to 110,000 lives in the UK every year. Early detection of symptoms can help you make preventative lifestyle changes in order to lessen the risks and to slow or even halt the progression of heart disease.
Cardiovascular screening is available at the Hospital as part of an extensive range of diagnostic services. Referrals for screening will normally be made by a GP or a Consultant Cardiologist.
Can I have a Cardiovascular Screen?
Heart screening is generally considered appropriate for men over the age of 40 and women over 45 who:
- Have a family history of heart disease or stroke
- Have diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol
- Are significantly overweight
- Smoke or have ever smoked heavily
- Have a mainly sedentary lifestyle with little or no exercise
- Feel regular cramping pains in the legs after walking short distances
Patients who have undergone previous cardiac treatment (angioplasty, stent or surgery) or who have been diagnosed with cardiac irregularities should seek the advice of their GP or a Consultant Cardiologist before undergoing screening.
What happens at a cardiovascular screening?
The following tests are undertaken within the (one) appointment which will check for the most common signs of cardiovascular disease, namely, stroke, heart attack and abdominal aortic aneurysm.
- Calcium scoring – a short, pain-free CT scan to check for build-ups of calcified deposits and blockages in the coronary arteries which cause heart attacks.
- Carotid artery screening – an ultrasound scan to check for narrowing of the carotid artery (the main blood supply to the brain) which is one of the main causes of stroke.
- Aortic aneurysm screening – a non-invasive ultrasound to measure the diameter of the abdominal aorta, as this gets weaker with age and if it becomes expanded it can lead to an aneurysm.
How long will it take?
The process takes approximately one hour. One of the Consultant Radiologists will report on your diagnostic scans and we’ll contact you within 3-4 days with the results.