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We see patients who are suffering from falls, dizziness or blackouts / faints (or a combination of symptoms).

We'll see you in either the outpatient clinic or day hospital unit and when you attend will be seen by a named consultant or a member of the falls team.

Your assessment will include a physical examination, taking your medical history and organising further diagnostic tests. During your initial assessment you will have lying and standing blood pressure checks, be weighed and an ECG will be performed (this is where electrodes are attached to your chest and limbs and a tracing of your heart's activity is recorded).

We may also need to take blood samples during this appointment.

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Ambulatory monitoring

Other tests may be arranged at a later date which include ambulatory monitoring. This is where you'll be fitted with ECG and/or blood pressure monitor and then go home to resume your usual activities. You return to hospital the following day and have them removed. This allows us to monitor your heart and blood pressure over 24 hours without the need for you to stay in hospital.

Tilt table

We may also carry out some special blood pressure tests in our tilt room. You will lie on a special bed called a tilt table which is a bed that moves very slowly up and forwards until you are in an upright position. There is a foot rest to rest your feet on and a table to lean on whilst in this position. You will stand like this for a period of time, whilst we look at your blood pressure and heart rate using a machine called a taskforce monitor. This has a cuff which fits around your fingers and gives a continuous blood pressure reading. You will feel the cuff inflating and deflating during the test.  You will also have leads attached to your chest to monitor the activity of your heart throughout the test.

During these tests we will try to reproduce the symptoms that you experienced during your episodes, so you may feel dizzy or unwell afterwards.

Clinics

We run outpatient clinics at North Tyneside, Wansbeck and Hexham General hospitals, Alnwick and Berwick Infirmaries, Sir G. B. Hunter Hospital in Wallsend, Blyth Community Hospital and Morpeth NHS Centre.

If you're attending the clinic for the first time, you should arrive at least 10 minutes before your appointment time.

Your appointment

There are a few things you should be aware of before you come to this appointment:

  • Try to wear loose clothing, as we have to attach a cuff to your upper arm and attach leads to your chest.
  • We get very accurate readings if your hands are warm, so in winter it is helpful if you can wear gloves to attend your appointment.
  • It is important that you do not drive home from this clinic, so make other arrangements for your return journey.
  • Don't drink tea or coffee on the morning of the appointment, but do drink other non-caffeinated fluids and have breakfast.
  • Please bring an up to date list of your medications and doses.
  • It is not necessary to bring a urine sample with you to this appointment, unless otherwise stated by your GP / consultant.
  • If you wear glasses and use any walking aids please bring them with you to your appointment.

If you need to change your appointment please call 0344 811 8118 and one of our patient care advisors will help you re-arrange it.

The team

Wansbeck / Berwick / Alnwick

Dr David Richardson - specialist consultant

Dr Anke Wehrkamp - senior doctor
Shona Stafford-Johnston - specialist nurse
Gary Maltby - specialist nurse

North Tyneside / Sir G.B. Hunter

Dr Ruth Ross - specialist consultant
Dr Mira Doshi - specialist consultant
Dr Sylvia O’Hanlon - senior doctor
Janet Hunter - specialist nurse

Philippa Whitelaw – specialist nurse

Maria Taggart – specialist nurse

Blyth

Dr Anju Bhagwat, specialist consultant

Hexham

Dr Paul Edmonds - specialist consultant

Useful links

Stars (Syncope Trust and reflex anoxic seizures)

European Society of Cardiology

Help the Aged

Contacts

If you have a question or concern, contact the service through our switchboard 0344 811 8111.

If you need urgent medical advice at night or at the weekend, there are out of hours contact numbers for services. In an emergency dial 999.