Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)

 

Coronary heart disease (CHD), previously called ischaemic heart disease, is when your coronary arteries become narrowed by a gradual build-up of fatty material within their walls.  In time, your arteries may become so narrow that they cannot deliver enough oxygen-rich blood to your heart.

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Risk factors

There are several factors that can increase the risk of developing CHD. The main ones are:

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Being physically inactive
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Family history of heart disease
  • Ethnic background
  • Sex - men are more likely to develop CHD at an earlier age than women
  • Age - the older you are, the more likely you are to develop CHD

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Symptoms of CHD

The main symptoms of CHD are: 

  • angina (chest pain)
  • heart attacks
  • heart failure

NOTE:  Not everyone has the same symptoms and some people may not have any before CHD is diagnosed

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Diagnosis

If you feel a patient is at risk of CHD, carry out a risk assessment. Ask about their medical and family history, and their lifestyle, and perform a blood test

Further tests may be needed to confirm a diagnosis of CHD, including:

  • a treadmill test
  • a radionuclide scan
  • a CT scan
  • an MRI scan
  • a coronary angiography

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Treatment

NOTE Coronary heart disease cannot be cured but treatment can help manage the symptoms and reduce the chances of problems such as heart attacks

Treatment can include:

  • lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise and stopping smoking
  • medication
  • angioplasty - using balloons and stents to treat narrow heart arteries
  • surgery

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Electrocardiogram

An electrocardiogram (ECG) can usually be undertaken in primary care.  If your practice does not offer ECGs, please request an ECG from East Kent Hospitals

Blood tests / Phlebotomy

If your practice does not have a practice nurse who is trained to take bloods, you can refer a patient to the Pathology Department at East Kent Hospitals for a blood test (find details here)

Alternatively, Buckland Hospital (Dover) and the Royal Victoria Hospital (Folkestone) both operate a walk-in service where no appointment is necessary, except for if the patient requires a Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT).  In the event that a GTT is required, please call 01304 222552 (for Buckland) and 01303 854484 (for Royal Victoria) to arrange a suitable appointment

Please ensure that the patient remembers to take with them their blood test form to the walk-in centres

Advice and Guidance is being made available for all specialties, and is being provided by consultant specialists at East Kent Hospitals.  To make a request or to check to if a query has been answered, you will need to log in via the electronic Referral System (eRS)

Click here for the "how to access" e-Referral Advice and Guidance Manual for instructions on how to make a request and check responses

Have a question or query?

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