UAB Medicine

Heart and Vascular - Second Opinion

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If you've been diagnosed with a heart or vascular related condition you may have questions about the best course to treat or cure the disease. Often a second opinion may be sought to confirm a diagnosis or provide alternate methods of treatment.

Cutting Edge Diagnosis & Treatment

The UAB Heart and Vascular Center is one of the largest centers of its kind in the Southeast, encompassing 55,000 square feet of the newest technology available. The center possesses labs housing the latest digital, flat-plate technology, which provides the most accurate imaging.The center includes private rooms for prep, recovery and patient care, all with the latest in electronic monitoring and documentation systems.

This Center is one of the first of its kind to integrate multiple services including:

Vascular Interventional Radiology
Pediatric Cardiology
Neuro-interventional Radiology
Interventional Cardiology

Assures Your Best Treatment

In the case of a serious condition, a second opinion is quite often a routine practice.

A second opinion is meant to give the patient options and peace of mind when it comes to their diagnosis.

Second opinions are important, not just for your physical health, but your mental health as well. Yet nearly half of all adults under the care of a doctor never get one. And when it comes to your heart, a second opinion could mean the difference between two very different types of treatment.

Heart disease is still the leading cause of death in the U.S., killing more than 650,000 Americans annually, according to the Center for Disease Control.

When To Get a Second Opinion
When it comes to cardiac events or any type of major medical problem, second opinions are invaluable. The benefit of a second opinion is that it gives you options. In a serious medical situation, it can put patients at ease to have choices. New research is constantly being done in the medical field, and it’s impossible for a single doctor to keep up with everything in his or her field. Second opinions allow a physician to expand upon the work of another physician to determine the best course of action.

“In certain circumstances, getting a second opinion regarding options in cardiovascular care should be strongly considered,” says UAB cardiologist Robert Bourge, MD. “Examples include if your condition is not improving, despite medical therapy; if surgery or a high-risk procedure is recommended as the ‘only’ option for your disease; or if a surgical procedure or a therapeutic procedure is recommended, but not performed locally with any frequency. Remember, it’s O.K. to ask your physician and hospital both how often a procedure is performed, and the results at a particular institution.”

Second opinions are also often required by insurance companies, especially if your doctor recommends surgery when a non-invasive procedure is available.

Additionally, if your doctor has prescribed medication with side effects, a second opinion could show an alternate route to wellness through different medication or a personalized diet/exercise plan.

When Advice Conflicts
When the medical advice of a second-opinion doctor coincides with that of your primary physician, you can rest easy knowing that you’re making the right decision regarding your health.

However, at times a second opinion conflicts with the advice of your primary doctor, and you have choices to make. Talk to both doctors about the conflicting opinions, and understand that many medical problems have more than one course of action that can be taken.

“A recommendation for heart valve surgery might warrant a second opinion,” Bourge says. “At a very experienced center, such as at UAB, we often get referrals of patients. More than half of the time, we agree with the referring physician, but we very often recommend non-surgical therapy. Medical therapy is also often recommended as a first step to lower the risk of surgery in the future. With certain types of valve problems, medical therapy occasionally results in a gradual resolution of the problem, negating the need for surgery altogether.”

UAB's heart and vascular physicians provide regular second opinions to cardiac patients of all types. Patients can get more information, by calling UAB Healthfinder at 1.800.UAB.8816 (1.800.822.8816)