Cardiology

Cardiology is the branch of medicine which deals with a range of heart problems including the treatment of:

Types of cardiology services

General cardiology services

General cardiology services support the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of people who come into our emergency departments with cardiac problems. Services are provided in both acute cardiology wards and a coronary care unit.

In addition, if a patient has had a heart attack or heart surgery, the Trust offers cardiac rehabilitation which gives patients and their family the information, support and advice needed to get them back on their feet again. Cardiac rehabilitation is a programme of exercise and information sessions that help patients get back to everyday life as quickly as possible.

Tertiary cardiology services

The Belfast Trust also offers tertiary cardiology services to the population of Northern Ireland.. Tertiary cardiology services require a specialist setting called a cardiac catheterisation laboratory and this is what differentiates them from general cardiology services.

Tertiary services are required where a patient’s condition(s) are such that lifestyle changes and medication are not enough to effectively improve or control their symptoms. It may then be necessary to provide other diagnostic or interventional options such as:


How to access this service

There are two ways of accessing cardiology services:

  • As an emergency
  • Referred via a GP or another clinician.

Patients are referred to cardiology when there are suspected or potential cardiac problems for assessment, diagnosis and treatment.

Location of Service

General cardiology services are delivered in acute cardiology ward(s) and a coronary care unit at the following hospitals:

Each hospital also offers cardiac rehabilitation services.

Tertiary cardiology services are also available at:


More About Heart Problems

Coronary heart disease
Coronary heart disease occurs when plaque builds up on the walls of the coronary arteries causing them to narrow which reduces the flow of blood and supply of oxygen to the heart. This can result in chest pain and in some cases, when one or more of the coronary arteries become critically blocked, a heart attack. The greater length of time that the heart does not receive oxygen, the more damage is caused.

Heart rhythm disturbance (arrhythmia)
Heart rate is controlled by the electrical system of the heart, when this electrical system is unable to function correctly it creates a heart rhythm disturbance or arrhythmia. This can mean the heart is beating too quickly, too slowly or irregularly. Symptoms include an awareness of premature beats, skipped beats, rapid heart rhythms, dizziness, fatigue, light-headedness or fainting.

Heart failure
Heart failure refers to a collection of symptoms caused by an inability of the heart to meet the blood supply needs of the body. Symptoms include increasing breathlessness, fluid retention and worsening exercise capacity. In adults, heart failure is commonly caused by coronary artery disease, high blood pressure or damaged heart valves.