Working life with Dr Angie Brown

Dr Angie Brown, Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) medical director and consultant cardiologist at the Bon Secours Hospital, Beacon Hospital and Hermitage Clinic.

6.30am

Walking the rescue collie and feeding the cats are early morning priorities. My husband looks after the dog and I tend to the cats. Home is in Glasnevin, a short distance from the Bon Secours Hospital, which is my first port of call, unless I have an early morning board meeting in the IHF.

8am

I head to the cardiac cath lab where we provide a range of diagnostic and therapeutic interventions for patients with cardiac and vascular disorders.

First on the agenda is a transesophageal echocardiogram (TOE), a heart scan that uses ultrasound to produce images of the heart via the oesophagus. Its high-resolution images are used to look at the hearts structure and function.

9am

Next up, Coronary angiograms, a test where I inject dye into the patient’s coronary arteries and take X-ray pictures to check for narrowing or blockages.

Some of our patients have heart failure. A survey carried out recently on behalf of the IHF found almost half of Irish adults mistakenly believe that heart failure means the heart stops beating. In fact it means it does not pump blood as well as it should. We are currently running a campaign “Don’t Ignore the Signs of Heart Failure” to raise awareness. Key warning signs include swollen ankles, shortness of breath, fatigue.

12 noon

I fit an Internal Loop Recorder in a patient with palpitations and a blackout. It’s a tiny device implanted under the skin. This enables ECG recording and storage and helps us determine the correct diagnosis and treatment.

Lunchtime

Spent writing up reports and dictating letters to GPs.

1.15pm

I run an outpatient clinic Monday afternoons. Later in the day, I pop back onto the wards to review my inpatients or to see patients with chest pain under the care of other specialists.

8.30pm

I head home for supper. If it’s a sunny evening, we make a beeline for the beach with the dog.

Occasionally, I have evening meetings with the IHF where my role includes providing medical expertise and acting as a spokesperson.

- On Thursday, May 2, the IHF will hold an information meeting in the Clayton Hotel, Silversprings, Cork, at 6.30pm

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