When a patient comes into hospital with chest pain, or shortness of breath, it can be caused by many things, ranging from a pulled muscle to broken ribs; from indigestion to a chest infection.
It also can of course be a sign of a heart attack, fluid on the lungs, or a major problem with the main artery that transports blood to the body.
So how can the doctor work out the difference in a fast and accurate way?
LOOKing and examining the patient and taking a history from the patient is really important, as are blood tests, x-rays and LISTENing to the heart and heart recordings.
What could add valuable information to the assessment would be the ability to carry out a quick ultrasound SCAN examination. These are very fast, painless, have no risk attached, and have been shown to be a really useful screening tool to get a quick and accurate diagnosis, meaning the patient gets the right treatment as soon as possible.
Our charity, NPIMR, based at Northwick Park Hospital, are hoping to raise £10000 so that we can buy one of these hand held ultrasound devices for our heart doctors, so that our patients get the correct treatment as quickly as possible – the faster treatment is given, the better chance it gives of a full recovery.