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Rapid Access Chest Pain Clinics 

NHS Lanarkshire has one-stop shops where patients with chest pains can be tested, diagnosed and referred for treatment all within the same appointment.

The rapid access chest pain service (RACPS) means patients presenting with chest pains at their GP can be fast-tracked to a dedicated clinic, run by specialist staff, where their symptoms can be checked out and treated without delay.

The service is available at Wishaw GeneralHairmyres and Monklands hospitals.

Patients attending their GP who are suspected of having angina or deteriorating angina will be given an appointment at the clinic within two weeks. The patient’s own GP can carry out all the necessary blood tests, meaning their results will be waiting for them when they reach the clinic.

At the clinic, additional tests are carried out, such as a reading of the heart at rest and during exercise. A consultant cardiologist will review all the patient’s test results, medical history and symptoms and give them a diagnosis there and then.

Depending on the diagnosis, the patient will be offered information and help to manage their condition by the nurse specialist. Iif necessary, the patient can be referred directly to the cardiology clinic for further treatment, such as an angiogram/angioplasty.

What is the RACPC?

Your General Practitioner will refer you to the Rapid Access Chest Pain Clinic to find out if your symptoms are due to angina or not.  Angina is normally due to a blockage of the arteries, which supplies your heart with blood.

What is involved?

At your appointment, you will see a Cardiologist (Heart doctor), Specialist Nurse and a Cardiology technician. We carry out some tests to assess your chest pain and decide if you have angina.

What tests may I have done?

Firstly there are tests, which all patients will have done.

Electrocardiogram (ECG):

This is a simple recording of your heartbeat. The technician will attach pads to your arms, legs and chest and a recording is then taken.

  • Blood tests
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Blood pressure

Once the Specialist Nurse and Cardiologist have seen you some other tests may be required.

Exercise ECG recording:

This is a recording of your heartbeat whilst you walk on a treadmill. The treadmill begins slowly and will gradually increase. We will monitor your heart and blood pressure carefully while you perform this exercise.

You will not be expected to run or exercise beyond your capabilities and the test can be stopped at any time. You may have a light meal about two hours before your appointment. Avoid heavy meals prior to exercise.

Echocardiogram, (or ECHO for short):

This is a scan of the movement of the wall and valves of your heart. The technique uses ultrasound and therefore causes no pain or discomfort. Most patients will not require this test. Occasionally some patients may have a chest x-ray.

What should I wear?

The exercise test is not too energetic; just wear flat shoes and comfortable clothing that you will be able to move easily in. For the ladies, trousers would be better.

What should I bring?

Any tablets or medicines you are currently taking. A drink, as your appointment may last up to two hours.

What will happen after the tests?

The Cardiologist will discuss with you the results of your tests, and any further treatments or tests which are planned. If the tests show that you do have angina, you will be given some advice and information booklets about angina by the Specialist Nurse.