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Cardiology

The Cardiology departments at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells hospitals perform a wide range of diagnostic tests and treatments on patients in Kent and East Sussex with all forms of heart disease.  Both hospitals have state-of-the-art Cardiac Catheterisation Suites, Coronary Care Units and general Cardiology wards.

Our team carry out thousands of procedures each year. Some of the tests include Ambulatory ECG and BP monitors, routine and complex Echocardiograms, angiograms, pacemaker and defibrillator implants, angioplasty/coronary stenting, electrophysiology and cardioversions.

Other cardiology services we provide are Outpatient Clinics, Rapid Access Chest Pain Clinic (RACPC), CT Coronary Angiography, Myocardial Perfusion Scanning, Pre-assessment Clinics, nurse-led clinics, Cardiac Rehabilitation, Treatment for Heart Failure (CHF), investigation and treatment of blackouts (Syncope) and Pacemaker and ICD follow-up.

Currently, the Trust employs seven Consultant Cardiologists and an Associate Specialist supported by a team of junior doctors, nurses and technical specialists (Cardiac Physiologists).

Heart failure

Heart failure is a general term and may develop as a complication of various conditions. Conditions that cause heart failure affect the ability of the heart to function well as a pump.
Breathlessness, feeling very tired and ankle swelling are the main symptoms of heart failure. However, all of these symptoms can have other causes. The symptoms of heart failure usually develop quickly (acute heart failure), but they can also develop gradually (chronic heart failure).

There are around 68,000 new cases of heart failure diagnosed in the UK each year. The condition can affect people of all ages, but it is more common in older people.

Causes of heart failure
Various conditions can cause heart failure. For example, ischemic heart disease (IHD) – also called coronary heart disease – is the most common cause of heart failure, diseases of the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy), high blood pressure, diseases of the heart valve, diseases of the pericardium – the tissue that surrounds the heart, some types of abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias), drugs or chemicals that may damage the heart muscle – for example, alcohol excess, cocaine and some types of chemotherapy and various non-heart conditions that can affect the function of the heart – for example, severe anaemia, thyroid disease and Paget’s disease. Sometimes the cause of heart failure is not known.

Treatment
In most cases, heart failure is a lifelong condition that cannot be cured. Therefore, treatment aims to find a combination of measures, including lifestyle changes, medicines, devices, or surgery that will improve heart function or help the body get rid of excess water.

In cases where heart failure has a specific cause, a cure may be possible. For example, if your heart valves are damaged, it may be possible to replace them, which can cure heart failure.

At Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, we have a multi-disciplinary service for patients with heart failure, which includes:

  • rapid assessment and diagnosis of patients with suspected heart failure
  • development of a comprehensive management plan
  • appropriate education and advice for patients and support from a named specialist nurse

We have hospital and community based heart failure nurse specialists to ensure you have access to the best care and support.