What is a Cardiac Physiologist?

My aim with this post is to give a brief overview of what we do, I will go further into certain aspects of my work in subsequent posts.

So who are we? We are professionals who have specifically trained in cardiology, with the aim to be able to provide a variety of clinical tests to help diagnose and treat cardiac conditions, with some specialising in paediatrics. We work closely with Cardiologists, nurses, radiographers and many others to maintain a high quality service.

The tests and procedures each of us perform vary dramatically. At the very heart of our profession, our bread and butter if you like, is the electrocardiogram (ECG). This involves placing 10 stickers in VERY specific positions, and yes we are incredibly anal about our electrode positions! And yes we will correct you if you do it wrong!
Further basic testing includes, blood pressure monitors and ambulatory ECG monitoring (continuous recordings for 24hours to 7 days) and analysis.
We do forms of Exercise tolerance testing (ETT), although not performed as much due to changes in the NICE guidance. Some centres also perform Cardiopulmonary exercise testing .
We do quite a proportion of our job in the cardiac catheter labs, at the basic level this is angiography and angioplasty aka PCI (looking at and stenting coronary arteries) including in some centres primary PCI – if a patient is having a heart attack they will come direct to the catheter lab for an emergency procedure to open the blocked artery. This emergency work involves us being on call 24/7 – on a rota of course!
More complex procedures in the catheter lab are; Pacemaker/CRT/Defibrillator implants, Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI), Structural heart closures, electrophysiology and more!
Echocardiography (Jelly scan of your heart) is a test which is widely used, as it visualises the heart using ultrasound.
Physiologists will also run clinics specific for implanted cardiac devices – Pacemakers, defibrillators, CRT devices and Loop recorders.

As you can imagine, we go through significant training to do what we do. And this training never stops.

Until next time



One thought on “What is a Cardiac Physiologist?

  1. Nice to see us getting some publicity. Hospitals are not just filled with Drs and nurses. There are so many specialisms that keep the NHS ticking over. We are really nice people too


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