Cardiology and Respiratory Services

The TSB Bank Cardiology Suite is located on the ground floor near the hospital's main entrance.

The Cardiology Service provides the following diagnostics:

  • Transthoracic Echocardiograms (TTE)
  • Transoesophagal Echocardiograms (TOE)
  • Exercise Tolerance Tests (ETT) Holter Monitoring
  • Event Recorder Monitoring
  • Myocardial Perfusion Scans
  • Tilt Table Testing
  • Treadmill Tests
  • Nuclear Cardiology
  • Holter Monitoring
  • Ambulatory BP Monitoring
  • Coronary Angiography

The cardiologist travels to Waikato on occasions to perform some Coronary Angiography and present cases.

Cardiology Diagnostics Cardioversion

Cardioversion can restore an abnormal heart rhythm and is a frequently recommended procedure for patients with atrial fibrillation. It is carried out under a brief general anaesthetic. A small electric shock is delivered via adhesive pads on the chest.  In most patients, this normalises the heart rhythm. Advantages are improved quality of life for the patient, fewer acute admissions for patients when compromised by their condition or to prevent a complication like a stroke.

Coronary Angiogram

This is when a special dye is injected into the arteries around the heart under a local anaesthetic and X-Rays are taken. The dye shows up on the X-Rays revealing the arteries and the presence of any narrowing or blockages. Your doctor will explain the risks and benefits of your treatment options and answer any questions you or your family may have.

Echocardiogram (Echo)

This is an ultrasound scan of the heart called a Transthoracic Echocardiogram (TTE).It assesses the stucture, function and size of your heart. A small hand held transducer, which sends out sound waves, is moved across your chest after gel has been applied. The transducer picks up the reflected sound waves and sends them to a computer which interperts the sound waves into an image of the heart walls and valves. The test takes up to 45 mins and is performed by a Cardiac Physiologist.

A Transoesphageal Echocardiograrn (TOE)

The patient is sedated and the transducer is inserted into the oesophagus. The transducer emits sound waves to the heart. The reflected soundwaves are then interpreted by the echo machine, forming pictures of the heart. The patient needs to fast before the procedure. The test can take up to 45 mins and is performed by the Cardiologist with assistance from the Cardiac Physiologist and Nurse.

Exercise Tolerance Test (ETT)

An Exercise Tolerance Test shows cardiovascular abnormalities not present at rest and determines adequacy of cardiac function with exercise. It involves walking on a treadmill whilst a continous ECG and BP are attached to the patient and monitored. Every three minutes the slope and speed of the treadmill increases. Changes in the ECG may indicate the presence of coronary artery disease. The test takes 30 minutes and is performed by a Doctor or Cardiac Nurse practioneer with a Cardiac Physiologist.

Holter Monitoring

A Holter Monitor is a portable device that is worn for 24 hours and records the patients heartbeat. The purpose of having the monitor is to determine if there are any cardiac arrhythmias present. ECG electrodes are attached to the patients chest with wires attached to the portable Holter Monitor. It takes 10 minutes to fit the monitor, then the patient returns the next day to have it removed. The 24 hour recording is then downloaded onto a computer and then analysed by the Cardiac Physiologist.

Event Recorder Monitoring

An Event Recorder is a portable device that monitors a patients heart rate. Patients are instructed to activate the monitor to record their heart rate when they are having symptoms. The device can record up to five patient events. ECG electrodes are attached to the patients chest. It takes 10 minutes to attach the monitor, then the patient returns the monitor a week later. The recordings are downloaded onto a computer and analysed by the Cardiac Physiologist.

Myocardial Perfusion Scan

This is to assess the supply of blood to the heart and to determine whether there is a difference under rest and stress. These scans are based on physical stress either on a treadmill (Stress Perfusion Scan) or, if the patient is unable to use the treadmill, chemicals are infused to stress the heart (Chemical Perfusion Scan). During the infusion the patient is monitored in the intensive care unit/coronary care unit. The patient must be monitored while receiving the infusion. The scanning is carried out in the Nuclear Medicine Department.

Pacemaker Monitoring

Pacemaker monitoring checks are for patients who have been fitted with a Pacemaker. Pacemaker clinics check the pacemakers functions as well as the battery life of the device. The checks usually take 15 minutes and are performed by the Cardiac Physiologist.


Tilt Table Testing

This is a diagnostic test for syncope (faint). The patient is gradually tilted from a lying down position to an upright position, initially with no medication then with an isoprenaline infusion which requires close monitoring. This diagnostic procedure can take up to two hours plus some recovery time. This is performed in the intensive care unit/coronary care unit.

Cardiac Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS)

The Cardiac CNS specialise in patient and family education, staff education and health promotion. This includes addressing risk factors for heart disease, promoting healthy lifestlye changes and supporting people through cardiac events, interventions and surgery. Patients are seen in hospital, in their homes, in clinic settings and contacted by telephone.

The CNS co -ordinate the Cardiac Rehabilitation Group sessions and work in liaison with the the Taranaki DHB Cardiac Physioytherapist, local cardiac support clubs and National Health Foundation. The service is Taranaki wide with clinics in New Plymouth, Stratford and Hawera.

Contact us:

Cardiac Clinical Nurse Specialist - North Taranaki
Phone 06 753 6139 Ext 7590

Cardiac Clinical Nurse Specialist - South Taranaki covers
Phone 06 278 7109 Ext 7590

ECG Department

Stress ECG's, Holter Monitoring and Pace Maker checks, are performed in this Department adjacent to the physician offices.

The Echocardiography service has been part of the ECG department since 1999, following the purchase of an Echo machine. The ECG team is made up of a Registered Nurse, Technician and a Clerical staff member. Patients seen are in excess of 1,500 each year.

Contact us:

Phone 06 753 7743 or free call 0508 249 969

Last updated: Thursday, August 1, 2013

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