Being breathless is a terrible feeling. It’s often caused by a temporary illness such as a cold or a flu, and it passes. Sometimes it’s more serious, and care by your GP ensures that it is resolved quickly. At other times however, things can be more complicated. Problems with the heart or lungs are often at the root of breathlessness, but even for GPs it can be hard to know the correct next step. Sometimes patients are sent to see one type of specialist only to later be sent to another, delaying diagnosis and treatment. For this reason, the Woolcock Clinic has developed a new Breathlessness Clinic.
The Breathlessness Clinic is for patients who have been breathless for more than 4 weeks despite treatment by their GP. Patients will complete a specially-designed questionnaire and undergo some basic breathing and heart tests prior to seeing the specialist doctors. Patients will then see a heart specialist and a lung specialist at the same time. These specialists will work together to devise an investigation and management plan for each patient and send detailed correspondence to the GP for continuation of the plan.
WHAT ARE THE COMMON CAUSES?
Common causes of breathlessness include:
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), sometimes called emphysema
- Ischemic Heart Disease
- Heart failure
- Chronic sinus or lung infection
- Thoracic cage wall disease
- Pleural disease
IF I AM SUFFERING FROM BREATHLESSNESS WHAT SHOULD I DO?
If you have been breathless for 4 weeks or longer, please see your doctor. Your doctor will review and arrange relevant tests to investigate your breathlessness. Your doctor can refer you to the Woolcock Breathlessness Clinic if your breathlessness has not resolved following recommended medical treatment.
WHAT SHOULD I BRING TO THE APPOINTMENT
- Contact details of any other specialists that you might have seen
- Previous chest x-rays
- Completed breathlessness questionnaire (Click to download)
- Any inhalers you currently use
HOW WE CAN HELP
The Breathlessness Clinic is a new, multidisciplinary clinic where cardiology, respiratory and allied health professionals collaborate to investigate and diagnose breathlessness at one convenient location. This approach brings together different expertise but complimentary skills to deliver an integrated yet targeted treatment plan specific to each patient’s needs.
To book an appointment at the Woolcock Breathlessness Clinic please contact us on:
T: (02) 9114 0000
F: (02) 9114 0010