August 18th 2023

Is Getting a Heart Check Worth it? Dr Barton Discusses

Dr Barton Discusses the Benefits of Getting a Heart Check

A friend’s recent death due to a sudden heart attack has prompted this reader to take early retirement and question whether they should get their own heart checked for peace of mind.

Dr David Barton, Consultant General & Interventional Cardiologist and Specialist Research Director for Cardiology here at Beacon Hospital, addresses this readers concerns. Coronary artery disease or blockages in the arteries of the heart, remains the leading cause of death in Ireland.

Dr Barton stresses the importance of heart health and the need for adults to be proactive in assessing their risk factors. Symptoms of heart health issues include chest pain or discomfort, breathlessness with exertion, palpitations or an irregular heart beat. He recommends that all adults should be checked for risk factors, even if they are asymptomatic.

Other steps that can be taken to look after heart health are preventative measures. Our lifestyle is effective at preventing risk factors from developing to begin with. Lifestyle choices such as a healthy diet, regular exercise, stress management, quitting smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight are crucial in preventing heart disease. These lifestyle choices are so important in minimising the risk of blockages and potential heart attacks.

For any individuals with symptoms or concerns, there are a number of tests that can help diagnose or potentially treat any blockages. These tests can range from basic blood tests to advanced imaging such as CAT scans, MRI, to electrocardiograms (electrical tracings of the heart) and echocardiograms (ultrasounds of the heart).

Dr Barton recommends regular heart checks and risk assessment to be essential for heart disease prevention. If risk factors are identified in check-ups, medications along with lifestyle changes, can significantly reduce the risk of dying due to heart-disease.

Dr Barton’s full piece and advice on heart disease can be read here on