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Anyone had an ECG done in Ireland? GP's office or referral to hospital / specialist?

  • 05-08-2021 5:17pm
    Registered Users Posts: 17,796 ✭✭✭✭hatrickpatrick

    Mods, not looking for medical advice in any way, just wondering about the logistics of a certain medical test.

    I'm interested in having an ECG performed for a few reasons (nothing urgent hence asking here instead of going to A&E!) - I'm just wondering, for anyone who's had one before, do you have to go to hospital or a specialist, or would your GP be likely to have the necessary equipment on hand? Am I better off calling the GP and asking about this or would it be better to look into where I'd want to be referred to etc beforehand, if it's not something a GP can do on an outpatient basis in their own office?

    To be clear, I am not asking for medical advice and this is in no way a medical emergency - it's just that caffeine, as well as certain stimulant supplements, have been giving me PVCs (that feeling wherein a heartbeat comes in early and resets your rhythm, so you become very aware of your heartbeat and its irregularity) quite frequently lately and I'm inclined to cut all stimulants out of my diet altogether until I can be absolutely sure my heart is in otherwise good condition and these aren't dangerous. I don't know if telling a doctor this would be enough to justify asking for an ECG in the first place, but it's just something that's been on the back of my mind for a few weeks and today's the day I stop just thinking about it and actually take some action! PVCs are commonly associated with stimulants and with hangovers, and generally aren't anything serious - I'd just like to know if I need to knock either one on the head for a while, and apparently an ECG is the most surefire way to find out.

    So is this a GP's office or hospital specialist thing? And if I were to simply tell my GP about my experience of increased frequency of these while caffeinated, would this be enough to justify a referral?


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,920 ✭✭✭SuprSi

    As someone who has had to visit the hospital a couple of times with an irregular heartbeat, or atrial fibrillation as I now know it, your GP will not have the necessary equipment. For me, the first time it happened I went to the GP he gave me a letter of recommendation for A&E as it was deemed an emergency. Turns out it's hereditary and just comes and goes occasionally.

    I'd imagine that your GP will suggest you stop taking any stimulants for a while before referring you to a specialist unless it occurs very regularly and for a sustained period. I have a watch with HRM and it's very easy to see when things aren't ticking like they're supposed to! Not that I need a watch to tell me as it's very obvious it's happening!

  • Administrators Posts: 12,877 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips

    First stop for any medical advice should always be your GP. To get seen in any department, in any hospital you will need a GP referral. The exception of course being self referral to ED. But as this is not an immediate emergency situation you should go through the channels rather than turning up in ED.

    Make an appointment with your GP.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    It's usually done by referral to a hospital or specialised centre. Some GPs may have an ECG machine, but not most.

    I've had one done at a cardiologist's private practice without any fuss at all, and I've also had one done at a public hospital, again without any fuss.

    There are services like rapid access chest pain clinics and so on that your GP can refer to.

    The fact that it's in a cardiology unit doesn't really add to the complications of getting it done. It's extremely non invasive and straight forward.

    You'd need to talk to your GP and they'd then refer you for an ECG.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,629 ✭✭✭SouthWesterly

    Some GPS have a machine.

    Either way, see your GP first

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,011 ✭✭✭rn

    Yes, have had it done at GP twice. Very straightforward. Hooked up to machine for a while, they took a reading. Doctor looked at it. On one occasion I was told all good. Then on other had to go to hospital for a battery of tests. Luckily all good.

    GP asked me to try out alivecor kardia. It does a 30 second ecg via a finger sensor. It's never picked up any anomalies from me and your GP can review the recordings. It's relatively expensive though - I don't use it anymore

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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,458 ✭✭✭joeguevara

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Hi there, I had an ECG carried out in my gp office by a nurse. Many gp surgeries offer this service. From my experience GP's would refer you on to get an ECG and or chest x ray / echo if there are such symptoms and offering such a test for peace of mind of the patient is important for who knows and a patient has an idea if something doesn't feel right and they deserve to know why by rulling in and out various things

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,050 ✭✭✭Jnealon

    Had it done at my GP, fairly straight forward

  • Registered Users Posts: 129 ✭✭RedCardKid

    Father had it done by the GP recently after going in complaining about a pain in his shoulder, expecting to be referred to an orthopedic surgeon. Turned out that he needed urgent attention and was taken to the Matter in Dublin by ambulance. Saved his life as it turns out.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,629 ✭✭✭SouthWesterly

    Glad it was caught.

    Went to my GP with a cough 3 months later I was having open heart surgery.

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  • Make the appointment today OP. Irregular heartbeats can be associated with strokes in younger people. If you were my son or daughter I wouldn't let you put your phone down without making an appointment, tbh. Sure the risk is minimal but the outcome so severe it's not worth it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 613 ✭✭✭OUTDOORLASS

    The likes of The Mater Private in Cork and Dublin do a heart health check for approx E250 or a full executive health and heart check for E500. Just book it online. Know someone that had the full one done when he was 50.

  • Moderators, Politics Moderators Posts: 36,385 Mod ✭✭✭✭Seth Brundle

    My own GP has the equipment (or did 5 years ago) as I found out after I had my heart attack. Before I was even aware of the results, the ambulance was on its way.

    The equipment is possibly a downsized version of what the hospitals have but gives the readout nonetheless.