Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor, a general practitioner or your child's physician. However, you'll probably then be referred to a doctor who specializes in heart conditions (cardiologist).
Because appointments can be brief, and there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to arrive well prepared. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms that you or your child has noticed, 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 illnesses.
- Make a list of all medications, as well as any vitamins or supplements, that you or your child is taking.
- Write down questions to ask your or your child's doctor.
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For pulmonary valve stenosis, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my or my child's symptoms?
- Are there other possible causes for these symptoms?
- What kinds of tests are needed? Do these tests require any special preparation?
- Is pulmonary valve stenosis temporary or long lasting?
- What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
- What are the risks of balloon valvuloplasty or open-heart surgery?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- Do I need to restrict my activity in any way?
- What symptoms might mean that my condition is getting worse?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment at any time that you don't understand something.
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?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- Are your symptoms worse when you exercise? What about when you're lying down?
- Does anything seem to improve your symptoms?
- Keane MG, et al. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of pulmonic stenosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Sept. 8, 2011.
- Pulmonic stenosis. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/print/cardiovascular_disorders/valvular_disorders/pulmonic_stenosis.html. Accessed Sept. 14, 2011.
- Webb GD, et al. Congenital heart disease. In: Bonow RO, et al. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-0398-6..C2009-0-59734-6--TOP&isbn=978-1-4377-0398-6&about=true&uniqId=236798031-10. Accessed Sept. 14, 2011.
- What is heart valve disease? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/hvd/. Accessed Sept. 8, 2011.
- Bittl JA. Natural history and treatment of pulmonic stenosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Sept. 8, 2011.
- Connolly HM. Carcinoid heart disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Sept. 8, 2011.
- ACC/AHA 2008 guidelines for the management of adults with congenital heart disease. Washington, D.C. and Dallas, Tex.: American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2008;52:e143.