A man getting a second opinion on his heart diagnosis.
Heart and Vascular

When to Get a Second Opinion on Your Heart Diagnosis

Sep 29 2021
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Getting a diagnosis that you have a heart condition can be unsettling. You’ll surely have questions, concerns and different emotions to process.

However, getting a second medical opinion on your heart diagnosis is a way to make sure you are getting the answers you’re looking for. In fact, plenty of research exists that supports the importance of seeking a second opinion.

The benefits of second medical opinions

Asking for a second opinion is common. And a good doctor should not feel offended if you tell them you want to get one. They may even encourage you to get a second opinion.

Consider the benefits of seeking the opinion of another heart specialist for your heart diagnosis:

  • A second opinion can help ease your mind about your condition.
  • Most insurance plans cover second opinion appointments.
  • When you talk to a heart specialist, you can learn more about your condition.
  • You can understand the treatment options available to you.
  • You may receive a new diagnosis.

When is it best to get a second opinion?

You can get a second opinion whenever you want to! You don’t need a concrete reason to do so.

Here are some situations when you should seriously consider getting a second opinion about your heart diagnosis:

  • You feel like you’re being rushed to make a decision about treatment.
  • Your doctor has suggested treatment that’s invasive.
  • Your doctor says nothing more can be done to treat your heart condition.
  • Your symptoms aren’t improving even after treatment.
  • You’re worried about how your heart diagnosis may affect your life and loved ones.
  • You’re unsure about your doctor’s diagnosis.
  • You’ve been diagnosed with a rare heart condition or with heart cancer.
  • You’ve heard other treatment options might be available.

When you get a second opinion, remember that it may not necessarily be the right diagnosis, just because it’s different from the first one. Continue to get info and even seek other medical opinions until you feel reassured you have the right diagnosis from a health care provider.

How do I go about getting a second medical opinion?

When you’re ready to get a second opinion, you can ask your doctor to refer you to another doctor or heart specialist. You can also:

  • Ask your insurance company for a doctor or specialist within your network.
  • Consult medical second opinion services online.
  • Request the name of a doctor or specialist from someone you know with the same condition.
  • Seek out a doctor at a local medical school or hospital.

Questions to ask when getting a second opinion on your heart diagnosis

The doctor you see for a second opinion will need to see your medical records. So, make sure you have them forwarded. Or, you can ask for copies from your current doctor and bring them with you.

The questions you ask will be specific to your concerns and situations. Write down all the questions you have so that you remember each one during your appointment.

You may also want to ask some of these questions:

  • What are possible alternatives to the diagnosis?
  • What does the diagnosis mean for my family and lifestyle?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • What are the risks and benefits of treatment?
  • What might happen if I don’t get treatment?
  • What are alternatives to the treatment?
  • Are there side effects to the medication?
  • Should I change anything in my lifestyle to improve my outcome?

Getting a second opinion on your heart diagnosis is not only common, but it is also recommended. Learn about the cardiology services we offer at Mercy Health.


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