I saw a new cardiologist last week, who was less than impressive. Based on my experience, I put together a few tips for you budding heart doctors out there.
1. After a patient tells you that she had half of her colon removed because of a carcinoid tumor, your follow up question probably should not be, "so was it benign?"
2. Don't leave your patient alone for 20 min in the examining room while you google her disease.
3. Try to be specific when discussing test results, and avoid overgeneralized statements like: "I don't see anything very life threatening here."
4. Avoid starting sentences with: "well - you don't smell." (He wanted me to get fitted with a heart monitor halter before leaving the office - which would mean that I couldn't shower for 24-hrs).
5. Know how old your patient is, especially by the end of a 45-min appointment. (While flattering, the fact that he thought I was 26 years old, instead of 36, was a bit disconcerting.)
In addition to his bedside "quirks", my soon-to-be ex-cardiologist shared his initial findings based on my exam and echo test: irregularity (t-wave inversion) and insufficiency in the right ventricle with possible neurological disruption (causing heart rate to drop with exercise). He ordered a stress test, heart halter, and new echocardiogram. He also suggested that I get tested for lyme disease.
Initially, I scheduled the follow up tests for Thurs. - but decided to cancel them, since it's not a "very life threatening" condition; now I have time to find a different doctor before subjecting myself to more cardiac testing. In the meantime, I'll get the lyme disease test done - just to cross that possibility off the list.