Before going ahead with a heart rhythm study, there are certain questions you need to ask. If in doubt, consider getting a second opinion.
Make sure you fully understand the procedure; don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s imperative your doctor explains the common risks and benefits, as well as those particular to your circumstances. Knowing all the relevant information is part of informed clinical consent.
Questions for your doctor
- Are there alternatives to this procedure?
- What results can I expect from the procedure?
- Is the procedure really needed at this time or can it wait?
- What are the likely consequences if I delay it?
- What are the likely out-of-pocket medical expenses? (Your doctor should be able to give you a breakdown of any costs you’ll incur – this is known as ‘Informed Financial Consent’) Learn about the costs
- Will there be an additional fee for an assistant? If so, what will it be?
- How should I prepare for my procedure?
- What medication do I need to stop? (such as warfarin or other anticoagulants)
- Will there be an additional fee for the anaesthetist? If so, what will it be?
- Can I meet with my anaesthetist before the procedure?
- What sort of sedation or anaesthesia will I have?
- What happens during and after the procedure?
- Will I need someone to take me home?
- How long do the test results usually take?
- What medications will I need to take after the procedure and for how long?
Your cardiologist’s skills
- How many procedures of this type do you perform each year?
- What percentage of your patients are satisfied with the results of the heart rhythm studies you perform?
- What percentage of your procedures are successful in stopping the arrhythmia?
- How many of your patients require a repeat procedure?
- What’s your complication rate for this procedure?
- How soon can I drive, go back to work or travel?
- Are there restrictions on what activities I can do?
- Follow-up appointments (Write down any questions or concerns you want to discuss with your surgeon).
Tell your doctor if you have any skin lesions, sores, cuts, a raised temperature or signs of a urinary tract infection, as they’ll need to be treated before your heart rhythm study.
Most medication should be taken as usual, but some may interfere with your procedure. Your doctor will let you know which medication (if any) you should stop, and when to stop taking it. Don’t forget to mention any complementary or herbal remedies you’re taking, as these can have interactions and side effects too.
Print out this page to take to your appointment with your surgeon