The echocardiography department at Harefield Hospital has national and international recognition and was awarded advanced European accreditation by the European Association of Echocardiography for excellent standards of clinical practice.
What we do
The echo department specialises in the diagnosis of complex adult cardiac pathologies, including:
- cardiac valve diseases
- acute coronary syndromes
- complex heart and lung surgery
- heart and lung transplants
- long-term monitoring of patients with heart failure
- cardiac assist devices.
This is done by performing a wide range of echo diagnostic procedures including:
- open-access transthoracic echo
- complex transthoracic studies
- 2D and 4D transoesophageal procedures
- exercise (stress) echocardiogram
- dobutamine stress echo
- contrast studies (contrast opacification, bubble contrast, transcranial contrast Doppler studies)
- dyssynchrony and optimisation of complex devices.
We also provide routine follow-up services for local children and adolescents with congenital heart diseases.
Patients are referred to the department from both the UK and internationally because of our experience in the diagnosis and management of complex cardiothoracic diseases.
How to find us
The echo department is based in the Anzac Centre on the ground floor at Harefield Hospital.
- Come through the main entrance and walk straight past the reception desk
- When you reach the reception desk of the transplant clinic, turn right just in front of the desk into the echo department
- The echo reception desk is along the corridor on the right-hand side
Echocardiograms provide an accurate picture of how well your heart is functioning and how healthy it is. The test is safe and easy, and does not hurt.
The echocardiogram (echo) clinic carries out a variety of routine and highly specialist echo tests:
- Transthoracic echocardiogram (echo) +/- contrast
- Transoesophageal echocardiogram (TOE)
- Exercise (stress) echocardiogram (bike)
- Dobutamine stress echocardiogram
- Transcranial Doppler with contrast
- Biventricular pacemaker optimisation
What happens next?
If you have come directly from an outpatient clinic, you will be asked to return to the clinic to see your consultant. Your results (echo report and images) will be available for review on the hospital electronic system and will be discussed with you in the clinic.
If you received an outpatient echo appointment, the results of your echo will be sent directly to your referral consultant and will be discussed at your next clinic visit.
When significant changes are identified, your referral consultant will be notified on the same day.
If a serious condition is detected, we will organise an emergency assessment by a consultant or the on-call cardiac registrar before you are allowed to go home.
If you have been referred by your GP, the results of your echo scan will be sent to them directly and they will arrange to discuss these with you at a convenient time.
Other useful information
- Echocardiography services are open to NHS patients, direct GP referrals and private patients
- Outpatient services' opening times are 8 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday
- We are open on Saturday morning 8 am to 1 pm for emergency inpatients activity support
- Only one relative is allowed to accompany the patient into the echo examination room during routine studies
- Relatives are not normally allowed to accompany the patient in the scanning room during transoesophageal and stress echo procedures but are welcome to wait in the visitors waiting area
- Please wash your hands with alcohol solution from our widely available dispensers to help reduce the spread of infection within the unit
- A translator service is available for people who cannot speak English (but this does need to be booked in advance)
- Car parking (which is pay and display) is available onsite
- If you have a cold, any infection or diarrhoea, please do not visit the department and contact us for advice
- Mobile phones must be switched off before entering the scanning rooms - although there is little chance that they will interfere with the equipment, the staff need to concentrate on the scan and focus on the patient without interruption
Meet the team
All members of the team can be identified by their badges and will introduce themselves when they meet you.
When you arrive in the echo clinic you will meet our reception coordinator who will register your arrival, advise you on the estimated waiting time and co-ordinate the other investigations you require before clinic attendance.
Your echo test will be performed by specially trained staff called echocardiographers who will look after you during your time in our department.
Two consultant cardiologists with highly specialist echocardiography training support the echo diagnostic team and are available for review and advice regarding complex clinical cases.
- Dr Shelley Rahman Haley - Consultant cardiologist, echo clinical lead
- Dr Aigul Baltabaeva - Consultant cardiologist, specialist in echo and MRI
- Dr Anthony Barron - Consultant cardiologist, heart failure and echo specialist.
Technical ECHO staff
- Ruth Chester - Echo services lead
- Samir Suleman - deputy cardiac physiologist
- Carol Harper - chief cardiac physiologist
- Armi Austria - chief cardiac physiologist
- Alagu Navaneethakrishnan - chief cardiac physiologist
- Menalyn Episioco - chief cardiac physiologist
- Robin Singh - chief cardiac physiologist
- Majimen Jimeno - chief cardiac physiologist
- Marichille Alviento - chief cardiac physiologist.
- Julie Donovan - senior Echo co-ordinator
- Lois Harbird - assistant echo co-ordinator/ HCA
- Emily Knowles - assistant echo co-ordinator /HCA
- Teresa Ganado Gallego - porter/HCA
- Hilary Stopps - Echo secretary.
- All NHS internal referrals for outpatient and inpatient echocardiograms should be made via the pink echo request form.
- Requests for private patient echo studies should be made via the green echo request form.
- All forms should preferably have a printed label with the patient’s personal details (handwritten forms with illegible patient details will not be accepted), should include the referral doctor signature and bleep number, referral consultant, information on patient mobility and inpatient ward location.
- Forms are prioritised based on clinical information provided so please ensure all relevant information is clearly written on the form.
- For patients from other Trusts, requests should be made by letter to the echocardiography department, Anzac Centre, Harefield Hospital.
- The vast majority of patients attending an outpatient clinic at Harefield Hospital (>80%) will have direct access to same-day echo assessment. Only a minority will receive booked outpatient appointments when demand exceeds department capacity.
- Direct outpatient clinic echo requests are reviewed and triaged on a daily basis (12 hours before the clinics) by our technical and/or clinical leads, as appropriate.
- We must be informed of any emergency outpatient echo requests at least 12 hours before the clinic appointment (by 12 pm the day before the clinic) in order to be able to allocate an emergency slot on the same day as the clinic. In case of failure to provide 12 hours’ advanced notice, we will offer a booked outpatient appointment on the first available date.
- Patients for transoesophageal, contrast and stress echo procedures are offered pre-booked appointments by letter together with a detailed description of their test and special additional instructions.
- A physiologist-led, consultant-supervised heart valve clinic has recently opened at Harefield Hospital. This clinic runs on a Friday morning between 10 am and 1 pm. We accept referrals for patients with documented native valve disease of an at least moderate grade. We also perform routine assessments for artificial heart valves (surgical, minimally invasive procedures, transcatheter valve implants) and surgically repaired valves that require long-term monitoring. You can send referrals via internal echo request forms (pink form) or clinical referral letters – please specify that the referral is for the valve clinic.
- Inpatient request forms are reviewed and prioritised twice a day by senior echocardiographers. This is based firstly on the clinical information provided and secondly in line to the estimated discharge date (if entered on the form).
- For clinical emergency requests please visit the department and discuss the case in detail with one of our senior echocardiographers. As far as possible, we will try to facilitate these requests on the same day, in line with their clinical emergency.
- All transthoracic echo studies are reported straight after the procedure and reports are available online within 15 to 30 minutes.
- Transthoracic echo – no preparation required.
- Contrast studies – IV cannula access (preferably a large cubital vein) will optimise procedure time.
- Transoesophageal echo – patients must be nil by mouth for a minimum of six hours pre-procedure, INR results should be available for patients on anticoagulation treatment, IV cannula access will optimise procedure time.
- Exercise and dobutamine stress echo – in most cases beta-blocker therapy needs to be stopped four days pre-procedure. Please speak with a senior echo member of staff for further advice if an inpatient stress echo is required.