Why early screening for heart problems is vital

Written by: Dr Andrew Vanezis
Published: | Updated: 27/07/2023
Edited by: Nicholas Howley

How do you know if you have a heart problem? Often it’s only after a heart attack or stroke that doctors pick up a problem with your heart. So is it worth getting your heart checked on a regular basis – and if so, when should you start? In this article below, we quizzed Dr Andrew Vanezis, a distinguished interventional cardiologist, about just that. 

Who is heart screening currently offered to?

Heart screening is currently offered as part of the NHS Health Check. This is offered to people between the ages of between 40 and 74 who do not already have heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease or high blood pressure.


Screening mainly focuses on assessing a person’s risk of developing coronary heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the UK. It’s especially important that you are screened if:


  • you have an inherited heart problems
  • you have a poor or very unhealthy diet
  • you smoke
  • you rarely or never exercise
  • you have a high body mass index (BMI)
  • you have an increase in blood pressure or a high blood pressure, total cholesterol or blood glucose.


What does heart screening involve?

The standard basic tests for heart screening are: 


  1. blood tests to check for high cholesterol and blood glucose levels
  2. blood pressure check
  3. resting electrocardiogram
  4. exercise electrocardiogram
  5. echocardiogram


What are the advantages of screening early?

The advantages of early screening is that it is an important aspect of lowering and managing any risks of health issues and risk factors, such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and any other aspects to health problems. If you screen early, you can be diagnosed and treated earlier.


What changes would you recommend in how we screen the population?

I think that we should focus on creating more awareness into inherited health problems and other silent killers with no obvious symptoms. This is why screening early and often is so important – otherwise people have no idea they have these conditions.


It is possible to book a private screening with a number of clinics around the country. Many of these clinics can screen patients who are not eligible for the NHS health check.


Some of my patients ask about the cost of screening. I would say that ultimately the cost is affordable. Screening is generally only required once every three to five years providing the results are good. If you can afford a holiday abroad, you can afford to undergo screening – it could make all the difference.


If you would like to book an appointment with Dr Andrew Vanezis today, visit his Top Doctors profile. 

By Dr Andrew Vanezis

Dr Andrew Vanezis is a leading interventional cardiology consultant based in Nottingham. He specialises in chest pain, breathlessness and coronary heart disease, alongside coronary angioplasty, microvascular angina and heart check ups. He practises privately at the Spire Nottingham Hospital and The Park Hospital, whilst his NHS practice is at the Trent Cardiac Centre, part of Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Dr Vanezis obtained his PhD in Medicine from the University of Leicester, his MBChB in Medicine and BSc in Medical Sciences from the University of Edinburgh and gained his MRCP certification from the Royal College of Physicians, London. He achieved the GMC Certificate of Completion of Training in Cardiology in 2019. He is also accredited by the British Society of Echocardiography.

Dr Vanezis completed his specialist cardiology training in the East Midlands and undertook a fellowship at the CK Hui Heart Centre in Edmonton, Canada, in 2019-20, training in complex coronary intervention. He has safely performed over 3000 coronary angioplasty procedures and has very low complication rates as evidenced by data available on the British Cardiovascular Intervention Society webpage www.bcis.org.uk/public-information/. He feels strongly about patient safety and doctor accountability and is the cardiology clinical governance lead at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Dr Vanezis is passionate about teaching and training the next generation of doctors and allied health professionals. He has been an Advanced Life Support instructor since 2018 and currently is a medical student and junior doctor supervisor and trainer at Nottingham University. He has also recently setup a catheter laboratory simulation training programme for staff at the Trent Cardiac Centre and is an administrator and lecturer for the Academy of Forensic Medical Sciences (AFMS).

Dr Vanezis has a strong academic profile. His PhD thesis examined the role of remote ischaemic conditioning in acute myocardial infarction and heart failure. His research has featured in various peer-reviewed journals including The Lancet and Heart. He has designed and run clinical research trials and has presented around the world. Dr Vanezis is also the associate editor of the European Heart Journal - Case Reports and has reviewed articles for The Lancet, JACC Cardiovascular Interventions, Journal for the Society of Cardiovascular Angiography and Intervention and Medicine, Science and the Law among other respected publications. He is also on the yearly clinical case reviewing committee of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress.

Dr Vanezis is a member of various professional organisations including the British Cardiac Interventional Society (BCIS), British Cardiovascular Society (BCS), British Society of Echocardiography (BSE), European Society if Cardiology (ESC) and is an associate member of the Resuscitation Council (UK).

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Overall assessment of their patients

  • Related procedures
  • Heart attack
    Hypertension (high blood pressure)
    Heart failure
    Injury valves
    Heart murmur
    Ambulatory electrocardiogram (Holter)
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