Cardio-oncology

Royal Brompton Hospital’s cardio-oncology clinic looks after a wide-range of patients before, during and after cancer treatment, for care and assessment of their heart health.

This includes:

  • patients who need cancer treatment but need their heart function assessed before treatment starts

  • patients who are currently receiving cancer treatment and have developed a cardiac complication

  • patients who are clear of cancer but are now suffering from heart problems due to previous cancer treatments.

This service will support your oncologist to treat your cancer by assessing your heart function. If we find a problem on the day, your cardiologist will advise on treatment.

You have been referred to the cardio-oncology clinic by your doctor, oncologist, surgeon, anaesthetist, local cardiologist or GP as part of your oncology treatment.

What to bring

On the day of your appointment you should bring:

  • an up-to-date list of all your medication including doses (a copy of your most recent ‘green’ prescription from your GP is most preferable)

  • any medication you will need during the day

  • something to read for the breaks

  • lunch or some money to purchase refreshments

There may be an exercise test as part of your cardiac assessment, so we recommend that you wear comfortable and loose clothing and shoes, eg trainers.

You are welcome to bring a friend or relative to escort you for the day.

Please don’t bring anything of value with you into the hospital as you will only be provided with a small locker and space is limited. 

Finding the clinic

The clinic is held in the Cardiovascular Research Centre on level 1 of the hospital (this is the basement level).

Please enter through the main reception on Sydney Street (ground floor, level 2) and follow the blue signs down the stairs or lift one floor.

What time should I arrive?

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.

What happens at the assessment?

Below are brief descriptions of the cardiac tests you may receive while you are at the clinic. The tests booked for you will be indicated in your appointment letter that is sent to you through the post.

A cannula may be inserted when you arrive at the clinic to help the doctors with their tests.

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

This is a simple tracing of the electrical activity of your heart. You will be asked to remove your upper body clothes and to lie on a couch. Small ECG electrodes will be attached to monitor your heart beat. This gives doctors information about the electrical activity of the heart.

The test usually takes 5 to 10 minutes. Find out more

Echocardiography and stress echocardiography

This is a simple painless ultrasound scan of the heart. It is very helpful in accessing the function and structure of heart valves and heart chambers.

Sometimes we will recommend a second stage, which involves a slow injection (infusion) of a 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

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. Find out more

Chest x-ray

This will take place in the x-ray department of the hospital, also called the radiology department, on level three.

This is a standard chest x-ray. You should not have this test if you are or think you may be pregnant.

Blood tests

You will also have a number of blood tests. Some are standard tests to check kidney and liver function and exclude anaemia. Others are more specific to heart function. Blood will be taken in the traditional manner from your arm or hand.

If you have been told by your doctor not to have blood taken from your arms please 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 if you have 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, it will be discussed with you on the day and another appointment will be made for you.

Lunch and refreshments

You will have several breaks during the day. Food and refreshments are available at the hospital or you can bring food with you to your appointment.

The hospital canteen is located next to the Cardiovascular Research Centre on level one (basement) of the hospital and there is a cafe located on the ground floor close to the main entrance.

You will be provided with a ‘patient pager’ on 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.

Please remember to return the pager to reception at the end of your stay with us.

Research studies

During the day you might be approached by one of our doctors or research nurses inviting you to take part in one or more of the research studies currently being undertaken in the cardio-oncology department of the hospital and through collaboration with Imperial College.

Participation in these research studies is voluntary, and will not affect your medical care.

The team

The cardio-oncology service at Royal Brompton hospital is made up of:

  • cardiologists

  • 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.

Consultants

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

Vicki Chambers

Hayley Pryse-Hawkins

Laura Fallon

Contacting the team

To contact the cardio-oncology team you should contact:

Ian Woodcraft: I.Woodcraft@rbht.nhs.uk or Alison EspritA.Esprit@rbht.nhs.uk
Telephone: 020 735 28121, ext 2956/2960

You can also contact:

Stephanie Harwood (PA to Dr Lyon): s.harwood@rbht.nhs.uk
Telephone: 020 7352 8121, ext 2396


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