Frequently Asked Questions
Q. I think I am having a heart attack. What do I do?
A. CALL 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY. Emergency medical service teams are better equipped to handle active heart attacks. Chest pain can be a warning of heart disease–or it can be a symptom of a heart attack. Be aware of other possible symptoms: discomfort or pain going to the neck, back, jaw, arms, or shoulders; numbness or tingling in one or both arms; nausea or vomiting; shortness of breath; extreme fatigue; sweating; weakness, dizziness, or passing out; or indigestion (heartburn). If you or a loved one ever experience chest pain–especially if one or more of the other symptoms are also present–seek medical attention immediately by calling 9-1-1. Please have someone let our office know so we may assist and follow up with you after the emergency is over.
Q. How can I contact Cardiology Physicians of Fairfield County,?
A. Our office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Please use the following telephone numbers:
General Questions and Appointments:
Bridgeport Office (203) 683-5100
Bridgeport Office Fax (203) 683-5140
Norwalk Office (203) 845-2160
Norwalk Office Fax (203) 663-7978
Stamford Office (203) 353-1133
Stamford Office Fax (203) 323-1747
Trumbull Office (203) 445-7093
Trumbull Office Fax (203) 638-7981
Billing (203) 653-4300
Q. How should I prepare for my first visit?
A. When you come for your first office visit, please bring your complete health history and print and complete the Important Pre-visit Forms on the homepage of this site. Give the completed forms to the receptionist as soon as you arrive.
Also, please bring the following items with you to the office:
- All current medication bottles, or a list of current medications
- Your past medical records, including any test, studies, or films
- The name, address, and telephone number of any out-of-town physician(s) who may have provided care for you in the past.
- Your insurance card
- Your driver’s license.
Please remember to dress comfortably, so that you will be prepared for any test your cardiologist may order.
Ladies should wear pants, knee high stockings or socks, a blouse that buttons on the front, and walking or tennis shoes. Please do not wear full-length slips or panty hose.
Gentlemen should wear loose fitting pants, button shirts, and walking or tennis shoes.
If you are a new patient, expect to be at our office for more than an hour. We recommend that you bring only one person along. At the end of the initial examination, the cardiologist will sit down and explain his/her findings to you and if you wish the person who has accompanied you.
Q. How do I change or cancel an appointment?
A. We ask that you cancel or change appointments as soon as you know you have another commitment. Please be aware that our nuclear stress tests require that we order isotopes for your test on the day before it is performed. Therefore, failure to keep this appointment or cancel it 24 hours in advance will result in a fee of $150.00. Nuclear medicine cancellations must be made at least a day in advance between the hours of 8:30 AM and 5:00 PM, Monday thru Friday.
Q. How do I reach a Cardiologist after hours?
A. A Cardiologist is on call each evening after 5:00 p.m. and all weekend. Call any of our offices; the on call doctor will be contacted immediately. Your call should be returned within 15 minutes in an urgent situation. In an emergency or if you feel that you are having a heart attack, do not call Cardiology Physicians. Dial 9-1-1 immediately!
Q. Who do I contact with questions about Insurance/Payment policies?
A. We ask that you provide up to date insurance information to allow us to submit all physician charges directly to your insurance company. You will need to complete and sign a form assigning benefits to CPFC so that your insurance company can pay your bill. Please bring your referral information with you. You will need to sign a waiver to agree to pay or we will need to reschedule your visit. For office visits, full payment or an insurance co-payment is expected at the time of service. Billing questions may be directed to our Billing Department from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday at 203-653-4300.
Q. What is a Nuclear Stress Test?
(May also be referred to as “Cardiolite”, “Thallium”, “MIBI” or “Persantine” Test)
A. By producing an image of the heart, radioactive “tracers” such as thallium and sestamibi can increase the accuracy of a traditional stress test. Nuclear scanning of the heart shows how well blood flows to the heart muscle. It’s usually done in conjunction with an exercise stress test on a treadmill, but can also be performed using medicines such as persantine and adenosine that effectively simulate the effects of exercise on the heart. Cardiac Nuclear Stress Imaging helps determine whether coronary artery stenoses (blockages) are so severe as to limit blood flow to heart muscle when it needs it most… during physical activity. In addition, nuclear imaging allows a determination of the heart’s pumping function (ejection fraction).
When a patient reaches his or her maximum level of exercise, or after simulating exercise with medications, a small amount of tracer is injected into a vein thru an I.V. The patient then lies down on a table under a camera that detects the energy emitted from the radioactive tracer and generates pictures (or scans) that reflect the heart’s blood flow both at rest and following stress. If a portion of the heart muscle is under-perfused (does not receive a normal blood supply), a deficiency of tracer activity in that area will appear on the finished images as a “defect”.
Resting pictures are first obtained using a nuclear agent. Next, stress is performed using treadmill exercise or a medication (Regadenoson). At the peak of exercise, sestamibi is injected into the bloodstream to determine the heart’s blood flow under stress conditions. Our “tracers” and methods are both widely used and quite safe. The amount of radiation you will receive is comparable to that from an x-ray. Cardiologists, Nurse Practitioners and Nuclear Medicine Technologists with expertise in both in stress testing and nuclear cardiology supervise and analyze these tests.
Q. Who will read my Nuclear Stress Test?
A. We have a number of cardiologists who are Board Certified in Nuclear Cardiology. These doctors interpret the results from your nuclear stress test. A report is generated and distributed to both your cardiologist and your primary physician usually within 48 hours of having your test.
Q. What is an Accredited Nuclear Lab?
A. We are committed to our patients and referring doctors to provide the best care possible. In order to do this we have voluntarily applied and have been granted accreditation by The Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Nuclear Medicine Laboratories. This means that we have met or exceeded the standards set forth by the governing bodies of nuclear medicine to ensure that we perform our tests within their guidelines.
Q. What support staff do we have to better serve you?
A. In order to provide the best medical care and follow-up, our support staff offers you a broad range of care and assistance. Our support staff includes:
Nurse Practitioners are certified by national regulatory agencies and are registered with the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health and Department of Consumer Protection. Working closely with the Cardiologists, they assist with initial evaluations, office visits, patient education, daily hospital rounds, discharging patients and a variety of diagnostic tests.
The Registered Nurses on our staff assist with office tests/procedures, see patients in the various clinics and answer phone call concerning patient care.
Graduates from a medical assistant course, our Medical Assistants are responsible for preparing patients for examinations and drawing blood for lab work, as well as escorting individual patients throughout the office.
These specially trained technicians help the nurses and physicians perform Treadmills and Exercise Echocardiograms, connect and scan holter monitors, run EKG tests, and check pacemakers.
Echo Technicians use ultrasound to record images that help our physicians visualize and measure the internal structures of the heart. These images are preserved on disks so that our Cardiologists can review them at any time.
Nuclear Medicine Technicians
NucMed Technicians use radioisotopes to record images of blood perfusion to the heart wall muscle. Our NucMed Technicians are credentialed by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) or the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board (NMTCB).