I want to get my heart checked. What do I ask for?

Now, don’t panic. But things in my chest have bothered me for quite some time. I’ve asked my doctor about it and he asked about my behavior & symptoms and didn’t think there was cause to worry. Nevertheless, I’d like to go on more than just an oral history. What sort of doctor do I call and what do I ask for to get my heart checked out let me stop thinking about every couple weeks when I have heartburn or a sore muscle?

Sorry if this is too mild for a GQ thread.

Find a cardiologist and tell them about your problems/questions. They will know what to do and should be able to perform all neccessary checks.
I don’t think you will have to ask for specific diagnostics. They are specialized on the heart and related issues and so they will focus on that anyway.

Check your insurance coverage before having lots of expensive tests. A lot of insurance companies will not cover tests they deem medically unnecessary. If the cardiologist feels the tests are necessary, make sure he writes a letter of medical necessity AND sends it to the insurance company.

IANAD but,

You might describe your symptoms in more detail to get a better answer. But your GP should be able to make a pretty good judgement as to whether something is wrong. Mine, at least, was able to do an EKG right in the office. If anything shows up, they’ll probably recommend some kind of stress echocardiogram — e.g. put you on a treadmill and use ultrasound to watch what’s going on.

But before they do that, you should be aware that there are a lot of things, particularly acid reflux, that feel alarmingly similar to heart problems. It may be that your GP feels that what your undergoing is something relatively benign, but hasn’t convinced you of this. If he feels that it’s heartburn or gastric reflux, then he should have recommended any of the proton pump inhibitors.

Good call on the reflux - I’ve known a couple guys that had their “heart” pain disappear just by trying a couple weeks of OTC acid blocker. eg: Prilosec, Prevacid or others of that sort.

In terms of heart diagnostics, likely ones would be a 12-lead EKG, echocardiogram, and stress (treadmill) EKG. Unless you pull out your checkbook, don’t expect an HMO doc to be particularly eager to run any of these as they’re not cheap.

But this is all meaningless as none of us here are your doctor, haven’t seen you or know your history. If you don’t want to try a “self help” trial of acid blocker and are truly concerned, ask your insurance company/HMO about a second opinion.

What sort of doctor do you want? One who’ll listen to your concerns, ask more questions, examine you, then answer your questions.

This could be a family doc, an internist, or cardiologist.

Unfortunately some docs don’t listen that well.

Depending on your age and medical history (including family history) it may be that all you need is a good history and physical exam to rule out heart disease. Or you may need an EKG, chest x-ray and some basic labs like cholesterol, electrolytes, and so forth.

Or you could require cardiac stress testing (with or without nuclear imaging), echocardiograms, holter monitors, or even a cardiac cath.

But if you start with a doc who’ll listen, examine you, and answer your questions, you should get what you need.

If I was you I would find me a good cardiologist.

I did that several years ago… he ran a Echocardiogram and found a restricted aorta valve, a few years later I had to have the valve replaced. Now days I wouldn’t trust a GP doctor to control my daily use of Coumadin.