We asked several Beaumont heart doctors how patients can make the most of their office visit with a cardiologist – what to expect, what’s the most valuable information you can share and more.
What advice would you give a first-time patient?
“Try not to panic. Seeing a cardiologist does not mean that we always have to find “bad things." Bring a close family member or trusted person with you so they can help you recall the discussion afterwards.” - Abedelrahim Asfour, M.D., Beaumont cardiologist
“I recommend a patient writes down the reasons they’re coming in to see the doctor. Make sure to prioritize your list so your most pressing questions are addressed first.” - Samir Dabbous, M.D., Beaumont cardiologist
“Patients should be honest about their symptoms and lifestyle habits. This information helps us understand the full picture and allows us to give much needed advice.” - Michael Tucciarone, M.D., Beaumont cardiologist
What should patients ask during a visit?
“It’s OK to ask if there are alternative treatments to a particular cardiac problem and if your doctor is comfortable offering them to you. Your doctor should also be open to talking about their experience in handling similar problems and overall success rate.” – Dr. Dabbous
“It’s important for a patient to be interested in and ask about their diagnosis, how it might have come about and what they can do to help themselves.” - Kavitha Chinnaiyan, M.D., Beaumont cardiologist
“I expect patients to ask questions about lifestyle changes, why we prescribe certain medications and how they work. Also, why we order certain testing.” – Dr. Tucciarone
What are the hardest lifestyle changes for patients to make?
“Sadly, and despite the emphasis on it, regular physical activity and adhering to a heart-healthy diet are changes least followed.” - Aaron Berman, M.D., Beaumont cardiologist
“Smoking continues to be the biggest hurdle in patients taking control over their health.” – Dr. Asfour
What’s important for a patient to bring to their first appointment?
“Patients must know their medications. It makes the initial visit much more useful if the physician can be sure what medications the patient is on. I would encourage first-time patients to bring all their medication bottles with them so that there is no doubt as to what they are taking. I would also ask patients to bring copies of previous cardiac testing.” – Dr. Berman
“If a patient has a cardiac history and has had previous testing or treatment for it at another institution, they must make every effort to ensure that information is available to the cardiologist prior to their first visit. This avoids redundancy and promotes efficiency, and more time can be spent discussing next steps instead of trying to obtain records.” – Dr. Chinnaiyan