What happens when you come to our clinic?
When you or your GP make a referral, our team will gather the information we need about your family and make an appointment for you to come to the Heart House for screening. Before you come, we will work with you to gather all the
family information we need, and if you have had a family member who has had a sudden cardiac death, we will obtain information on him or her.
This is a reading of the electrical impulses travelling through your heart, measured through electrodes, which are placed on your skin. It takes only minutes to perform. Sometimes we will also perform a signal averaged
ECG, which can take up to 20 m.
This is an ultrasound evaluation of your heart. A small ultrasound probe is used to ?look? at all the chambers and valves of the heart. A cardiac technician performs this test, and the doctor will give you the result when
he or she sees you at your next visit. This test is especially good at looking for cardiomyopathy conditions.
Treadmill exercise test
This test involves you walking briskly on a treadmill, while we closely monitor your heart and blood pressure. It can take anything from 4 to 16 minutes.
A Holter monitor is a heart rhythm monitor, which patients wear for 24 hours. We can put it on you, and then you can go home and post it back to us the next day, for analysis. This test can show us if a person is having any arrhythmias.
For some patients, genetic testing may be advised. This is particularly true in the case of conditions like Long QT syndrome, for which genetic testing is becoming increasingly reliable. Genetic testing must be performed in
conjunction with a genetic specialist and a genetic counsellor. In the Mater Hospital Heart House, we refer patients who need genetic testing to the National Centre for Medical Genetics, in Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin and in Temple Street
Children?s University Hospital, Dublin.
Caveats of screening
Family heart screening is a new speciality to Ireland. As with all screening tests, the screening process cannot outrule diagnoses with complete accuracy. Therefore, your Family Heart Clinic doctor may request that you re attend
for repeat screening at a future time.