Our rapid access chest pain clinic (RACPC) provides a quick and early specialist cardiology assessment for patients with new onset of exertional chest pain thought likely to be angina, and for patients not currently under a cardiologist who have known ischaemic heart disease and worsening symptoms, who need urgent assessment. Clinics currently run on Tuesday and Thursday mornings on the UCH site. This is a consultant-led, one-stop clinic, which enables a rapid and definitive assessment of symptoms and investigations and results in either the initiation of treatment or the swift reassurance of patients without pathology.
All patients are offered an appointment within two weeks of a referral, with clinic letters generally sent out within 24hrs. Our clinic is a fast route of entry into cardiology services for patients with suspected ischaemic heart disease. It allows quick access to appropriate treatment, either medication or invasive procedures and to all-important advice on risk factor modification and prevention and to rehabilitation services. We will accept referrals of patients with NEW ONSET chest pain suspected to be cardiac in origin. Referrers should send patients with KNOWN ischaemic heart disease to the general cardiology clinic unless they have worsening symptoms. We can offer one stop CT coronary calcium scoring for rapid definitive rule out of coronary disease in lower risk patients.
Patients with suspected myocardial infarction (MI) or acute coronary syndromes should go directly to A&E.
We care for patients with:
- New onset exertional chest pain
- Ischaemic heart disease and worsening symptoms who need urgent assessment
Please bring a list of your tablets with you. Please do not have breakfast on the morning of your appointment; you can only drink water. Do bring a snack to have after your blood tests.
You will be contacted shortly and offered an appointment to be seen in the clinic within 2 weeks.
The aim of the service is to offer a rapid assessment of the possible cause of your chest pain. Chest pain sometimes comes from the heart. You have been referred to the Clinic because your doctor thinks your chest pain may be related to your heart and would like the opinion of a doctor who specialises in heart disease (Cardiologist).
Please go to the registration desk so that we can book in your details. You will then have an electrocardiogram (ECG) which is a heart trace. You will see the cardiologist who will discuss your medical history and examine you.
Following this, if it is appropriate, you may need to have one or more of the following tests or be given an appointment for them:
- Blood tests and chest X-ray
- An Exercise ECG test which involves walking on a treadmill at increasing speed while your pulse, blood pressure and heart trace are monitored by a cardiac technician. In case you need this test please wear loose clothing, with an easily removable top and trainers or flat shoes - no high heels or sling back shoes
- CT calcium scoring ( a very short CT scan (X-ray)
- CT coronary angiogram (an outpatient X- ray of the arteries of the heart)
- Echocardiogram (an ultrasound of the heart)
- Stress echocardiogram (a specialised heart ultrasound during exercise )
- Myocardial perfusion scan ( a special heart muscle X ray – out patient test)
- 24hr ECG (a heart rhythm recording for 24hr. you take a small recording box home)
- Coronary angiogram ( see separate info sheet- an inpatient X-ray of the heart arteries)
Before you leave the clinic you will be told when and how to get the results of any outpatient tests and, if possible, given an explanation of the cause of your chest pain. If the doctor feels it is necessary, you may be asked to come back for review to the outpatients department and possibly for more tests. A letter will be sent to you and your doctor containing all the information from your visit - what has been done, your diagnosis (if known) and plans for future care.
Your visit may last a whole morning (up to 4 hours). This will depend on the number of tests that you may need. However you will benefit from having as many as possible of the relevant tests at one visit.
If you have any questions before your appointment then please feel free to call us on 020 3456 6000. If we are not there to answer your call, please leave your name and number on the telephone answer machine and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Please remember not to have breakfast on the morning of your appointment; you can only drink water. Do bring a snack to have after your blood tests. If you have any questions about not eating please call the number above.