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Old 02-28-2010, 10:58 AM   #1
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Cardiologist Office Procedure questions

Went for a heart stress test. After I'm hooked up to the machine a woman comes into the room to gives me the test. She doesn't introduce herself other than telling me her name. I don't know what her credentials are. She gives me the test then tells me about a minor negative reading and recommends I have Nuclear stress test. She does not consult with the cardiologist. I find this odd but don't want to question her. Shouldn't the cardiologist see the results and make the recommendation?

I call the cardiologist's office the next day to request that the cardiologist look at my test results and call me. The woman who answers the phone pauses. She seems confused. She tells me the woman who gave me the test is a nurse. I tell her I simply want to discuss the results with the cardiologist. She still seems bothered by this request. I spell it out for her. I WANT TO TALK TO THE CARDIOLOGIST. Doesn't he talk to his patients? She says she'll have him call me. Is this so unusual? We're talking about my heart - not a zit.

I want to change doctors. Do I have to take stress the test again or will a new Dr. accept the other test results? Are my above complaints legit or is that standard procedure? Shouldn't a Dr. tell me the results?

The Dr. Called me back but I missed his call - so I have not discussed this with him.

 
Old 03-04-2010, 11:28 AM   #2
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Re: Cardiologist Office Procedure questions

I guess I'm going through the same thing, but the only difference is that the cardiologist came in and talked to me (for about 2 minutes max.) The ultrasound tech looked at all the pictures after she was done and said they were really fuzzy and she didn't think the doctor was going to like the quality and that she had to consult with him and see if he wanted to go ahead with the test or not. Then the cardiologist came in, looked at the pictures very briefly, and then told me that since insurance usually only covers one test or the other, not both, he thought it would be better to give up on this one and schedule a nuclear stress test instead. The reason he gave me was that if they can't see the walls of the heart clearly, the regular stress test would be inconclusive, and therefore I would end up needing to do the nuclear stress test as well. Just had this done today, so I don't have any other information yet. I'm very concerned about having radioactive material injected into my blood, and I'm wondering if a better ultrasound tech would have been able to get better pictures.

 
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Old 03-04-2010, 08:08 PM   #3
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Re: Cardiologist Office Procedure questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by boheka View Post
I want to change doctors. Do I have to take stress the test again or will a new Dr. accept the other test results? Are my above complaints legit or is that standard procedure? Shouldn't a Dr. tell me the results?
Hi boheka!
I've had open heart surgery and many heart tests, so I'll tell you the procedure at my cardiologist's. They schedule all the tests I need, plus a follow-up appointment with the cardiologist at the same time, to discuss the results later (usually scheduled for some time after my tests have been completed).

Did they give you a follow up appointment? And if you do change doctor's, it is likely you will have to do another stress test (but perhaps not, if it's on this new computerized unified system). You also have a right to your own medical record by law, including your stress test. It might have a charge involved, but you could take it to a new doctor yourself if needed.
Best wishes, ~lKaz

Last edited by lKaz; 03-04-2010 at 08:15 PM. Reason: addition

 
Old 03-08-2010, 09:36 AM   #4
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Re: Cardiologist Office Procedure questions

If the nurse was a Nurse Practitioner, I think what she did was appropriate, although she should have explained to you that she was a nurse practitioner. [There may be circumstances when even if she wasn't a nurse practitioner this would have been appropriate: i.e. do a screening, which is all a standard stress test really is, and refer you for more indepth testing].

Most doctor's offices try to minimize the number of phone calls the doctor has to personally make.

Yes, I would follow through with getting the nuclear stress test; it is much more accurate and reliable than the standard stress test.

They probably didn't want to waste your time and the doctor's by scheduling an appointment until they had all the tests they needed.

That said, if you are unhappy with the doctor's office procedures, find another doctor. But I'd get the nuclear stress test first; you don't want to delay that if there is a problem.

 
Old 03-08-2010, 10:06 AM   #5
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Re: Cardiologist Office Procedure questions

In my cardiologists office, each staff member has different training for the particular tests they administer. Depending on the test, it might be performed by a practitioner or a tech, such as the radiologist. I sounds like the doctor was directing the tech to schedule you the nuclear test, with factors such as insurance coverage being considered.

The receptionist is trained to filter calls to the doctor, and the fact that the doctor called you back while you were out, is a good example of why. Most doctor I have do all their calls late in the day, so it's one chance to get a call.

Now, that said, if you do not feel comfortable with your doctor or staff, you have every right to find another doctor. You should feel comfortable with your doctor, and be able to talk to him about your concerns, but you will usually have to fit this in the time he has available for you. That means coming prepared with your questions, (written down is best) doing your reasearch, and accepting his advise.

I would go ahead with the nuclear test. The benefit of the test far outweighs the risk of the test...whatever the results of the test. Hoping for a negative test, but detecting problems early is always good.

Goo luck!

 
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