?

Lakes > Public Hospital Services > Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand Lakes >

Cardiology | Lakes | Te Whatu Ora

Public Service, Cardiology

Today

8:00 AM to 4:30 PM.

Description

Formerly Lakes DHB Cardiology

Lakes DHB Cardiology is a specialist service provided within Internal Medicine.

We are a small team made up of two cardiologists, cardiac nurse specialists and cardiac physiologists. We provide specialist medical support for cardiac inpatients as well as running regular outpatient clinics and cardiac diagnostic tests.

Cardiac nurse specialists provide flexible support to patients including home visits, follow up information and education around how to live well with your condition. They also run the following outpatient clinics:

  • Heart Failure Clinics - run by cardiac nurses under supervision by a specialist physician
  • Cardiac Rehab Clinics - run by cardiac nurses for patients following heart attacks and heart surgery
  • Clinical Trials 

Our cardiac physiologists run Pacemaker Clinics at Rotorua and Taupō Hospitals, in collaboration with the cardiologists, and perform all ECG tests.

Where to find us: see the Rotorua Hospital map here.

We also provide visiting services to Taupō Hospital.

What is Cardiology?

Cardiology is the specialty within medicine that looks at the heart and blood vessels.  Your heart consists of four chambers, which are responsible for pumping blood to your lungs and then the rest of your body. The study of the heart includes the heart muscle (the myocardium), the valves within the heart between the chambers, the blood vessels that supply blood (and hence oxygen and nutrients) to the heart muscle, and the electrical system of the heart which is what controls the heart rate.

Consultants

Charges

New Zealand citizens or those who have obtained permanent residence are entitled to publicly funded health care.

Non-residents may be required to pay for their health care.

Click here to read more about eligibility for funded care at Lakes DHB.

Hours

8:00 AM to 4:30 PM.

Mon – Fri 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM

Procedures/Treatments/Common Conditions

Coronary Angiogram (at Waikato DHB)

Lakes DHB patients can be referred to Waikato DHB for coronary angiograms. This test is performed by a cardiologist in a sterile operating theatre environment. Most people will need to have routine tests before the procedure. These tests may require separate appointments and are usually planned the day before or the day of the procedure. You will be asked not to eat or drink after midnight the evening before the procedure. You are not given a general anaesthetic but may have some medication to relax you if needed. Local anaesthetic is put into an area of skin to the side of your groin or in your arm. A needle and then tube are fed into an artery here and advanced through the blood vessels to the heart. Dye is then injected so that the heart and blood vessels can be seen on x-ray. X-rays and measurements are then taken giving the doctors information about the state of your heart and the exact nature of any narrowed blood vessels. This allows them to plan the best form of treatment to prevent heart attacks and control any symptoms you may have.

Lakes DHB patients can be referred to Waikato DHB for coronary angiograms.
 
This test is performed by a cardiologist in a sterile operating theatre environment. 
 
Most people will need to have routine tests before the procedure. These tests may require separate appointments and are usually planned the day before or the day of the procedure.
You will be asked not to eat or drink after midnight the evening before the procedure.

You are not given a general anaesthetic but may have some medication to relax you if needed.  Local anaesthetic is put into an area of skin to the side of your groin or in your arm.  A needle and then tube are fed into an artery here and advanced through the blood vessels to the heart.  Dye is then injected so that the heart and blood vessels can be seen on x-ray.  X-rays and measurements are then taken giving the doctors information about the state of your heart and the exact nature of any narrowed blood vessels.  This allows them to plan the best form of treatment to prevent heart attacks and control any symptoms you may have.
Cardiovascular Disease

This refers to narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle. The heart, like all other organs in the body, needs a constant supply of oxygen and energy. Narrowed arteries are unable to keep up with the demand needed to supply the heart muscle with blood. This can cause damage to the heart muscle if prolonged. The most common symptom of this problem is chest pain that occurs when you exert yourself (angina). Typical angina chest pain is a heavy sensation in your chest associated with shortness of breath. It sometimes radiates to your arms and can make you feel like being sick, dizzy or sweaty. Not everybody experiences the same sensation and any one of those symptoms can represent angina. If your GP thinks you may have angina they will refer you for an assessment to plan treatment. Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction) If an attack of angina lasts for more than 20 minutes then you may be having a heart attack. This is when a piece of the heart muscle has been deprived of oxygen for so long that it can die, resulting in permanent damage to your heart and in some cases death. There are treatments available in hospital that can prevent heart attacks and save lives so if you have chest pain or symptoms of angina that last for more than 20 minutes you should call an ambulance and go to hospital as soon as possible. Am I likely to have cardiovascular disease? There are several risk factors that are scientifically proven to be associated with this disease. However even if you don't have any of the following it could still happen to you. You are more likely to have cardiovascular disease if you have any of the following: Are or have been a smoker Diabetes High blood pressure High cholesterol A family history of the disease Are older (your risk increases as you get older) Treatment consists of medications to protect the heart and its blood vessels. These include aspirin which makes the blood less sticky and prone to clots, medication to lower your cholesterol (even if it isn’t very high this is still helpful), medication to make your heart go slower and to open the blood vessels. You will be given a nitro lingual spray to carry with you with instructions of what to do if you have angina. You will be given advice on diet changes that can protect the heart as well as stop smoking programmes. If you have had a heart attack you will be offered cardiac rehabilitation classes with a trained physiotherapist. Depending on tests you may have procedures offered to surgically correct the narrowed blood vessels. The cardiology department and your GP often share follow-up for this condition.

This refers to narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle. The heart, like all other organs in the body, needs a constant supply of oxygen and energy. Narrowed arteries are unable to keep up with the demand needed to supply the heart muscle with blood. This can cause damage to the heart muscle if prolonged.

The most common symptom of this problem is chest pain that occurs when you exert yourself (angina). Typical angina chest pain is a heavy sensation in your chest associated with shortness of breath. It sometimes radiates to your arms and can make you feel like being sick, dizzy or sweaty. Not everybody experiences the same sensation and any one of those symptoms can represent angina. If your GP thinks you may have angina they will refer you for an assessment to plan treatment.

Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction)

If an attack of angina lasts for more than 20 minutes then you may be having a heart attack. This is when a piece of the heart muscle has been deprived of oxygen for so long that it can die, resulting in permanent damage to your heart and in some cases death. There are treatments available in hospital that can prevent heart attacks and save lives so if you have chest pain or symptoms of angina that last for more than 20 minutes you should call an ambulance and go to hospital as soon as possible.


Am I likely to have cardiovascular disease?

There are several risk factors that are scientifically proven to be associated with this disease. However even if you don't have any of the following it could still happen to you.

You are more likely to have cardiovascular disease if you have any of the following:

  • Are or have been a smoker
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • A family history of the disease
  • Are older (your risk increases as you get older)

Treatment consists of medications to protect the heart and its blood vessels.  These include aspirin which makes the blood less sticky and prone to clots, medication to lower your cholesterol (even if it isn’t very high this is still helpful), medication to make your heart go slower and to open the blood vessels.  You will be given a nitro lingual spray to carry with you with instructions of what to do if you have angina.

You will be given advice on diet changes that can protect the heart as well as stop smoking programmes.

If you have had a heart attack you will be offered cardiac rehabilitation classes with a trained physiotherapist.

Depending on tests you may have procedures offered to surgically correct the narrowed blood vessels.

The cardiology department and your GP often share follow-up for this condition.

Heart Failure

Heart failure refers to the heart failing to pump efficiently. There are many diseases that cause this including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, viral infections, alcohol, and diseases affecting the valves of the heart. When the heart is inefficient a number of symptoms occur depending on the cause and severity of the condition. The main symptoms are tiredness, breathlessness on exertion or lying flat, and ankle swelling. Doctors often refer to oedema, which means fluid retention usually in your feet or lungs as a result of the heart not pumping efficiently. Tests looking for possible causes of heart failure include: Chest x-ray Electrocardiogram (ECG) Echocardiogram (cardiac ultrasound) Angiogram Treatment You are likely to have several medications over time, started and monitored by your cardiologist and GP. These include medication to control the amount of fluid that builds up (diuretics), medication to protect your heart and slow it down as well as to thin your blood. You will often be referred to a dietitian or given advice about restricting the amount of fluid and salt you take as this can contribute to symptoms. You can also be involved in cardiac rehabilitation programmes run by trained physiotherapists. You will be given reading material to learn more about your disease. The cardiologist and your GP usually share follow-up for this condition.

Heart failure refers to the heart failing to pump efficiently.  There are many diseases that cause this including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, viral infections, alcohol, and diseases affecting the valves of the heart. When the heart is inefficient a number of symptoms occur depending on the cause and severity of the condition. The main symptoms are tiredness, breathlessness on exertion or lying flat, and ankle swelling. Doctors often refer to oedema, which means fluid retention usually in your feet or lungs as a result of the heart not pumping efficiently.

Tests looking for possible causes of heart failure include:

  • Chest x-ray
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Echocardiogram (cardiac ultrasound)
  • Angiogram

Treatment

You are likely to have several medications over time, started and monitored by your cardiologist and GP. These include medication to control the amount of fluid that builds up (diuretics), medication to protect your heart and slow it down as well as to thin your blood. You will often be referred to a dietitian or given advice about restricting the amount of fluid and salt you take as this can contribute to symptoms. You can also be involved in cardiac rehabilitation programmes run by trained physiotherapists. You will be given reading material to learn more about your disease.

The cardiologist and your GP usually share follow-up for this condition.

Cardiac Arrhythmias

Your heart rate is controlled by a complex electrical system within the heart muscle which drives it to go faster when you exert yourself and slower when you rest. A number of conditions can affect the heart rate or rhythm. Heart rate simply refers to how fast your heart is beating. Heart rhythm refers to the electrical source that is driving the heart rate and whether or not it is regular or irregular. As some types of arrhythmias can cause you to faint without warning, your doctor may restrict your driving until the condition is controlled. Some common terms Sinus rhythm is the normal rhythm Arrhythmia means abnormal rhythm Fibrillation means irregular rhythm or quivering of one part of the heart Bradycardia means slow heart rate Tachycardia means fast heart rate Paroxysmal means the arrhythmia comes and goes Tachycardia The most common form of this is atrial fibrillation. This is where your heart rhythm is irregular and often too fast. Symptoms include fatigue, palpitations (where you are aware of your heart racing or pounding), dizziness and breathlessness. Other tachycardias include supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) or ventricular tachycardia (VT). These have similar symptoms as atrial fibrillation but can also cause you to lose consciousness (faint). Bradycardia The most common form of this is called heart block. This is because messages from the electrical generator of the heart don't get through efficiently to the rest of the heart and hence it goes very slowly or can pause. Symptoms of the heart going too slowly include feeling tired, breathless or fainting. Tests Tests to diagnose what sort of arrhythmia you have include: an electrocardiogram (ECG). This trace of the heart's electrical activity gives the diagnosis of the source of the arrhythmia. This is often normal at rest and more extensive testing is needed to try and catch the arrhythmia especially if it is intermittent. an ambulatory ECG. This can be performed with a Holter monitor which monitors your heart for rhythm abnormalities during normal activity for an uninterrupted 24-hour period. During the test, electrodes attached to your chest are connected to a portable recorder - about the size of a paperback book - that's attached to your belt or hung from a shoulder strap. Another form of ambulatory ECG test is an Event recorder which covers 1-2 weeks. You wear a monitor (much smaller than a Holter monitor) and if you have any symptoms, such as dizziness, you press a button on a recording device which saves the recording of your heart rhythm made in the minutes leading up to and during your symptoms. Because you can wear this for a longer period of time it has a higher rate of catching your abnormal rhythm. Treatment Most treatments for tachycardias consist of medication to stop the abnormal rhythm or make it slower if and when it occurs. Atrial fibrillation, if you have other problems, can increase your risk of stroke so blood-thinning medication is often used as well. If you have bradycardia you may be referred to the surgeons for a pacemaker. This is a small operation where a battery powered device is placed under the skin with wires that lead to your heart and provide it with electrical stimulation to prevent it from going too slowly. You can't feel it doing this but will be aware of a small flat lump under your skin just below your collar bone.

Your heart rate is controlled by a complex electrical system within the heart muscle which drives it to go faster when you exert yourself and slower when you rest. A number of conditions can affect the heart rate or rhythm. Heart rate simply refers to how fast your heart is beating. Heart rhythm refers to the electrical source that is driving the heart rate and whether or not it is regular or irregular.

As some types of arrhythmias can cause you to faint without warning, your doctor may restrict your driving until the condition is controlled.

Some common terms

  • Sinus rhythm is the normal rhythm
  • Arrhythmia means abnormal rhythm
  • Fibrillation means irregular rhythm or quivering of one part of the heart
  • Bradycardia means slow heart rate
  • Tachycardia means fast heart rate
  • Paroxysmal means the arrhythmia comes and goes

Tachycardia

The most common form of this is atrial fibrillation. This is where your heart rhythm is irregular and often too fast. Symptoms include fatigue, palpitations (where you are aware of your heart racing or pounding), dizziness and breathlessness.

Other tachycardias include supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) or ventricular tachycardia (VT). These have similar symptoms as atrial fibrillation but can also cause you to lose consciousness (faint).

Bradycardia

The most common form of this is called heart block. This is because messages from the electrical generator of the heart don't get through efficiently to the rest of the heart and hence it goes very slowly or can pause. Symptoms of the heart going too slowly include feeling tired, breathless or fainting.

Tests

Tests to diagnose what sort of arrhythmia you have include:

  • an electrocardiogram (ECG).  This trace of the heart's electrical activity gives the diagnosis of the source of the arrhythmia. This is often normal at rest and more extensive testing is needed to try and catch the arrhythmia especially if it is intermittent.
  • an ambulatory ECG. This can be performed with a Holter monitor which monitors your heart for rhythm abnormalities during normal activity for an uninterrupted 24-hour period. During the test, electrodes attached to your chest are connected to a portable recorder - about the size of a paperback book - that's attached to your belt or hung from a shoulder strap. Another form of ambulatory ECG test is an Event recorder which covers 1-2 weeks.  You wear a monitor (much smaller than a Holter monitor) and if you have any symptoms, such as dizziness, you press a button on a recording device which saves the recording of your heart rhythm made in the minutes leading up to and during your symptoms.  Because you can wear this for a longer period of time it has a higher rate of catching your abnormal rhythm.

Treatment

Most treatments for tachycardias consist of medication to stop the abnormal rhythm or make it slower if and when it occurs. Atrial fibrillation, if you have other problems, can increase your risk of stroke so blood-thinning medication is often used as well.

If you have bradycardia you may be referred to the surgeons for a pacemaker. This is a small operation where a battery powered device is placed under the skin with wires that lead to your heart and provide it with electrical stimulation to prevent it from going too slowly. You can't feel it doing this but will be aware of a small flat lump under your skin just below your collar bone.

Valve Disease

Your heart consists of 4 chambers that receive and send blood to the lungs and body. Disorders affecting valves can either cause stenosis (a narrowing) or regurgitation (leakage after the valve has closed). Depending on what valve is involved and how severe the damage is it may result in symptoms of heart failure (see above), as it makes the heart pump inefficiently. Suspicion of a heart valve problem is usually picked up by your doctor when they listen to your heart and hear a murmur. A murmur is heard with the stethoscope and is turbulence of blood flow that occurs through a narrowed or leaky valve. Not all heart murmurs mean serious problems but are best investigated further. The echocardiogram is the main test to diagnose what valve is involved and how severe it is. Treatment depends on the type and severity of the valve lesion. You may simply be monitored over years to see if anything changes. Some conditions require medication to thin the blood or treat any complicating heart problems. You may be referred to a heart surgeon for consideration of a valve replacement or dilatation of a narrowed valve.

Your heart consists of 4 chambers that receive and send blood to the lungs and body.

Disorders affecting valves can either cause stenosis (a narrowing) or regurgitation (leakage after the valve has closed). Depending on what valve is involved and how severe the damage is it may result in symptoms of heart failure (see above), as it makes the heart pump inefficiently.

Suspicion of a heart valve problem is usually picked up by your doctor when they listen to your heart and hear a murmur. A murmur is heard with the stethoscope and is turbulence of blood flow that occurs through a narrowed or leaky valve. Not all heart murmurs mean serious problems but are best investigated further.

The echocardiogram is the main test to diagnose what valve is involved and how severe it is.

Treatment depends on the type and severity of the valve lesion. You may simply be monitored over years to see if anything changes. Some conditions require medication to thin the blood or treat any complicating heart problems. You may be referred to a heart surgeon for consideration of a valve replacement or dilatation of a narrowed valve.

Pharmacy

Click here to find your nearest community pharmacy.

Other

Click on the location links for more information on your trip to Rotorua Hospital or Taupō Hospital, including:

Contact Details

Rotorua Hospital

Lakes

8:00 AM to 4:30 PM.

More details…

Taupō Hospital

Lakes

8:00 AM to 4:30 PM.

More details…

This page was last updated at 10:15AM on May 5, 2020. This information is reviewed and edited by Cardiology | Lakes | Te Whatu Ora.