At Blackrock Health, we offer an Acute Cardiac Assessment service at all three of our hospitals with or without a GP referral. This service provides fast and expert medical care to patients with worrying cardiac symptoms such as chest pain, dizziness, shortness of breath or a racing pulse rate. We provide quick access to experienced doctors who can diagnose your condition. We will then review your case directly with one of our expert cardiac consultants. Most patients feel reassured after this assessment, and those who need fast treatment can start the process right away.
Who is the service for?
Patients experiencing any of the following symptoms are encouraged to phone their local Acute Cardiac Assessment service as soon as possible.
- Chest pain
- Irregular heart rhythm or palpitations
- Dizziness or light headed
- Shortness of breath, which could be related to the heart
What to expect as a patient
A member of the Acute Cardiac Assessment team will check your condition at first and will complete the following:
History and physical examination
During this step, they will ask about your medical history. This will include your family's history of heart disease and your lifestyle habits such as smoking and diet. Then, they will examine your body. This will include listening to your chest with a stethoscope to see if there are any unusual sounds or murmurs coming from your heart.
If you need an acute cardiac assessment, we may need to perform some blood tests for further analysis and diagnosis. This could include measuring glucose levels, checking cholesterol levels, and assessing liver enzymes. We may also recommend checking markers such as troponin to find any signs of inflammation or infection in the heart.
An Electrocardiogram (ECG) is a test used to diagnose some types of heart problems. It measures the electrical activity of your heart to find any irregular heartbeat. The ECG helps healthcare providers determine if there is any damage or blockage in the heart's blood vessels. When you are referred for an acute cardiac assessment in the hospital, getting an ECG is crucial.
If you need more cardiac tests, we can organise them. Some cardiology diagnostic tests we might order are:
An echocardiogram (Echo) is a medical test that uses sound waves to make moving pictures of the heart and nearby structures. It can give helpful information about the heart's overall shape, size, and function. The test can find any areas of muscle tissue that are too thick or weak, like those found in coronary heart disease. It is even more important because it can show structural issues in the heart's chambers and valves. These can be related to genetic or acquired abnormalities. Using an Echo, medics can diagnose and treat certain medical conditions faster and more accurately than other tests. Additionally, it is non-invasive and painless.
A stress test (also called an exercise STRESS test) assesses how the heart responds to stress. It checks how well the heart reacts to a greater workload. It does this by measuring your heart rate, blood pressure, and other physical responses when you exercise. Stress tests can also be done along with imaging tools like echocardiography - as this is non-invasive. By watching your blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen levels while you exercise, medics can find potential heart problems. They can then create an appropriate treatment plan tailored to your needs.
A Holter Monitor is a portable ECG device that continuously monitors your heart's electrical activity. It comes with a small recorder, electrodes and leads that stick to the patient's chest, and software for data analysis. The Holter Monitor is useful to diagnose patients referred for an acute cardiac assessment. It records data about your heart rate, rhythm, and any electrocardiogram readings over an extended period of time. A Holter monitor is applied by one of our cardiac technicians. Then you go home and undertake your normal daily activities. Returning the next day, the monitor will be removed and the recording analysed. This information can help detect any abnormalities with your cardiovascular system. This, in turn, can offer an insight into the potential cause of your symptoms.
Blood pressure monitoring means measuring and recording your blood pressure values over time. This can be done by using a cuff and stethoscope or an automated device, like an oscillometric blood pressure monitor. We use these readings to diagnose and monitor conditions like hypertension and other heart problems. Monitoring is also helpful to quickly and accurately assess acute cardiac issues. It gives critical information about your cardiovascular system. This includes symptoms that may signal potential problems needing immediate medical attention.
Cardiac CT scans use X-ray images to find potential heart issues. First, you lie down on a table that moves through a large, doughnut-shaped scanner. While the machine rotates and takes pictures, you may get an injection of dye in your arms or legs. This dye helps make the heart's arteries, valves, chambers, and other organs more visible. A Cardiac CT scan can help detect or rule out heart conditions that can cause acute cardiac assessments. These include blocked arteries, heart damage from previous strokes or heart attacks, lung issues, aneurysms, blood clots, and valve defects. It can quickly find any issue in the heart and surrounding area compared to other imaging techniques
A cardiac MRI scan uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to make detailed pictures of the heart. It helps doctors diagnose issues with the heart's structure or function. Cardiac MRI scans can help diagnose many conditions. These include coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, valve abnormalities, and other structural heart diseases. The images show how much blood flows through the heart's different parts and reveal details about its anatomy. This can include showing a blocked artery or enlarged ventricle. By studying the heart in this way, our team can quickly identify potential heart problems (available at Blackrock Clinic & Hermitage Clinic only).
Consultant review and plan of care
As part of this service, one of our expert cardiologists will check your results and talk to you. Their plan of care may include:
- Staying at the hospital for more observation or monitoring
- A follow-up appointment with the consultant in an out-patient setting
- Referral for an urgent interventional procedure in our Cath Lab
Interventional procedures in a cardiac cath lab can diagnose and treat heart conditions like coronary artery disease. These interventions include balloon angioplasty, stents, and valve replacement therapies. Cardiac catheterisation is also used to check blood flow within the heart for unusual vessels or other problems. Interventions help us provide fast treatment by letting us access the key heart tissues with minimal invasion. This can be critical for quick diagnosis and implementing treatments. The procedures also help medics see how effective treatment is, which can be life-saving in some cases.
If you require admission to the hospital following acute cardiac assessment, we will:
- Communicate any costs you may incur in advance
- Help you check your health insurance coverage, or provide you with self-paying options
Is this insured?
Not all services are covered in full by health insurance. To find out if you're covered, please check your health insurance before your visit. You can do this on our health insurance Cover Check page, or by contacting your health insurer.
Acute cardiac assessment with ECG is €225.00. Should you need other tests as part of your treatment plan, the cost of your visit is capped at €650.00. This cost includes your consultation and tests, but excludes cardiac CT and cardiac MRI.
Acute Cardiac Assessment with an ECG is €225.00. Should additional tests be required as part of your treatment plan, the cost of your visit is capped at €650.00.
The cost includes the initial consultation and testing but excludes cardiac CT and cardiac MRI.
Acute cardiac assessment with ECG, without GP referral is €225.00. Should you need other tests as part of your treatment plan, the cost of your visit is capped at €650.00. This cost includes your consultation and tests, but excludes cardiac CT and cardiac MRI.