How ‘just cutting toe nails’ became a life saver

How do you think a potentially life-saving consultation could happen when somebody just comes to see me to have their toenails cut?

Let me explain about a chap I saw recently…


Doppler machine being used on foot


I carried out my usual baseline checks which I do for all my new patients including using my doppler to have a listen to the blood flow going through the blood vessels in their feet and if I spot any irregularities I will back that up with my portable ECG machine.



Dianne holding up a portable ECG machine



This gives me a digital readout of exactly what that pulse rate is doing and spots anything erratic or irregular.




That happened in this gentleman’s case and it put my radar on high alert because that can be a condition called atrial fibrillation (AF).

If you don’t already know, having AF increases your risk of a potential fatal heart attack or stroke, so it’s important to get that treated as soon as possible. Fortunately, this case has a happy ending. I referred him to his GP for further checks; he had a further ECG and more blood tests and AF was confirmed. He was immediately put on blood thinners to reduce his heart attack and stroke risk. I’m looking forward to seeing him again.

So, the next time you think that when you’re coming to see me I’m just going to cut your toenails, think again. I could be saving your life.

“Thank you for your diligent observation last Friday Dianne, and for emailing my GP. I had an ECG on Tuesday, bloods on Wednesday and after a GP phone call yesterday confirming I do have Atrial Fibrillation. I have started blood thinners today.”

If you’d like more help or advice, you can book an appointment here!

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