A referral to the cardio-oncology clinic will come from your doctor, oncologist, surgeon, anaesthetist, local cardiologist or GP. This referral will be a part of your oncology treatment.
This service supports your oncologist treating your cancer by assessing your heart function. If we find a problem on the day, your cardiologist will give you advice on the right treatment.
What to bring
On the day of your appointment, bring with you:
an up-to-date list of all your medication including doses. The best thing to do is bring a copy of your most recent ‘green’ prescription from your GP
any medication you will need during the day
something to read for the breaks
your own food and drink or money so you can buy refreshments throughout the day
You may have to do an exercise test as part of your cardiac assessment. It is best to wear comfortable and loose clothing and shoes, such as trainers.
You are welcome to bring a friend or relative to be with you for the day.
You will have a small locker that you can put items in for the day, but there is not much space. So it is best to not bring anything of value with you that is not necessary.
Finding the clinic
The clinic is in the Cardiovascular Research Centre on Level 1 of the hospital (this is the basement level).
Go to main reception on Sydney Street (ground floor, level 2) and follow the blue signs down the stairs or take the lift down one floor.
You should arrive at the clinic reception for 8:30am and plan to be in the clinic until 5pm, although you may be able to leave sooner.
Below are brief descriptions of the cardiac tests you may receive while you are at the clinic. The appointment letter you receive in the post will tell you which tests you will have done.
We may insert a cannula when you arrive at the clinic. This is to help the doctors with their tests.
This is a simple tracing of the electrical activity of your heart. For the test, you will need to remove your top and lie down on a couch. We will attach small ECG electrodes to you to track your heartbeat. This gives doctors information about the electrical activity of the heart.
The test usually takes 5 to 10 minutes.
Echocardiography and stress echocardiography
This is a simple and painless ultrasound scan of the heart. It helps in accessing the function and structure of heart valves and heart chambers.
Sometimes we will recommend a second stage. This involves a slow injection (infusion) of medication via a drip into one of your veins, which makes your heart beat stronger and faster. This is called a stress echocardiography.
The test usually takes 60 to 70 minutes.
Find out more about echocardiography
Find out more about stress echocardiography
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) scan
A CMR scan uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of your heart. It gives us information on the structure of your heart and blood vessels and how well they are working.
The test will last for up to one hour.
Our X-ray department is also called the radiology department. You can find it on Level three in the hospital.
This is a standard chest x-ray. You should not have this test if you are or think you may be pregnant.
We will do a series of blood tests during the day. Some are standard tests to check kidney and liver function and exclude anaemia. Others are more specific to heart function. We will take your blood samples from your arm or hand.
If you have been told by your doctor not to have blood taken from your arms, contact Ian Woodcraft or Alison Esprit on 020 73528121, ext 2956/2960.
Results of the tests
After your tests, you will see a consultant cardiologist in the afternoon to discuss the results of your morning tests and plan your care.
There is also the opportunity to meet one of the clinical nurse specialists who works with your cardiologist. You will be able to ask them any further questions about your care and treatment.
Sometimes you may need to see the cardiologist again as you undergo your cancer treatment. If this is necessary, we will talk to you about this on the day and make another appointment for you.
Being diagnosed with cancer can be an anxious time for anyone, and we have a number of ways we can help to support you.
Lunch and refreshments
You will have several breaks during the day. You can either bring your own food with you, or you can make use of the cafes and shops available at the hospital.
The hospital canteen is located next to the Cardiovascular Research Centre on level one (basement) of the hospital. You can buy sandwiches and a selection of hot food, and hot and cold drinks there. It is a cash only service.
There is also a cafe located on the ground floor close to the main entrance. This has a selection of hot and cold drinks, snacks and sandwiches. This is also a cash only service.
We will give you a ‘patient pager’ for the day. This lets us contact you about the timing of your next test if you have chosen to leave the unit and/or hospital grounds during one of your breaks.
Remember to return the pager to reception at the end of your stay with us.
During the day, one of our doctors or research nurses may speak to you about taking part in one or more research study. There are a number of studies taking place currently in the cardio-oncology department in collaboration with Imperial College.
Participation in these research studies is voluntary, and will not affect your medical care.
To contact the cardio-oncology team you should contact:
Ian Woodcraft or Alison Esprit
Telephone: 020 735 28121, ext 2956/2960
PA to Dr Lyon
Telephone: 020 7352 8121, ext 2396
Meet the team
The cardio-oncology service at Royal Brompton hospital is made up of:
- clinical fellows
- clinical nurse specialists
- administrators and a secretary
The team will assess and, if necessary, treat you.
We often have national and international visiting doctors and nurses who may sit in on your consultations. If you would prefer they didn't sit in, please let reception staff know.
Dr Alexander Lyon
Dr Lyon is an honorary consultant cardiologist at the Trust and heart failure lead in the cardiovascular research centre. He is the clinical lead for the cardio-oncology service.
Dr Stuart Rosen
Dr Stuart Rosen is consultant cardiologist at Royal Brompton Hospital and reader in cardiology at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London.
Clinical nurse specialists