Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
You're likely to start by first seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, you may then be referred to a doctor who specializes in heart disorders (cardiologist).
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your caffeine intake prior to having heart function tests.
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements that you're taking. Also, write down the dose that you're taking.
- Ask a family member or friend to come with you, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all of the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time with your doctor. For bundle branch block, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- Are there other possible causes for my symptoms?
- What kinds of tests do I need? Do these tests require any special preparation?
- What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
- Will the bundle branch block return after treatment?
- What types of side effects can I expect from treatment?
- Are there any alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing me?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
- Does anything seem to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
- Has a doctor ever told you that you have a bundle branch block?
- Conduction disorders. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Arrhythmia/AboutArrhythmia/Conduction-Disorders_UCM_302046_Article.jsp#.T1QonfUzDTo. Accessed March 2, 2012.
- Bundle branch and fascicular block. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/print/sec07/ch075/ch075i.html. Accessed March 2, 2012.
- Sauer WH. Right bundle branch block. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed March 2, 2012.
- Moya A, et al. Diagnosis, management, and outcomes of patients with syncope and bundle branch block. European Heart Journal. 2011;32:1535.
- Sauer WH. Left bundle branch block. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed March 2, 2012.
- Heart disease prevention: What you can do. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/what_you_can_do.htm. Accessed March 4, 2012.
- Grogan M (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 30, 2012.