Frequently asked questions

Most patients see us at the request of their primary care physician. You can also schedule an appointment directly with us by calling 651-292-0007.

Prior to your first appointment, our scheduling staff will contact you to preregister and obtain medical history information necessary for your visit. At that time you will be assigned to your primary cardiologist. Your primary cardiologist will coordinate all aspects of your cardiovascular care and work closely with your primary care physician to maintain heart health.

Prior to your first visit, our scheduling staff will contact your primary care physician's office to obtain medical records pertinent to your visit. Your primary care physician may send a letter or speak directly to your primary cardiologist regarding the reason for your visit.

After each subsequent clinic visit or hospitalization, your primary care physician will receive a letter from your cardiologist summarizing your visit (current cardiac health status, their assessment and recommendations for maintaining heart health). It is important that you discuss the cardiologist's recommendations with your primary care physician. Your primary care physician can help implement and monitor many aspects of the care plan recommended by your cardiologist.

Your primary cardiologist must first review tests before you are notified of the results. There could be some delay in reporting results if your primary cardiologist is out of the office.

Abnormal results will be reviewed promptly even if your primary cardiologist is unavailable. The nurse clinician will call and review with you these test results and the cardiologist's recommendations. If your results are normal or stable you will receive a follow up letter stating the results in the mail within two weeks.

If you call us for the results of tests that your primary care physician ordered, you would be advised to call your primary care physician's office instead for the results.

If you have medical problems or questions about your heart, please call us and ask to speak with your primary cardiologist's nurse clinician. The nurse clinician will review your problem or question, obtain your record, and update your primary cardiologist.

If the nurse clinician is working at the hospital or seeing patients in the office, you may choose to leave a message on the nurse clinician's voicemail. If your condition requires immediate assistance your call will be transferred to our triage nurse. If your call is in regard to a potentially serious or life threatening emergency you should call 911.

For medical problems not related to your heart, contact your primary care physician.

For non-urgent questions you can email your provider through your Allina Health account. Send a follow-up question about your last visit, request a referral, form or record; or questions about medicines. Sign in, sign up or learn more.

We only refill medications that we prescribe and actively manage. Patients must have been seen within the past year by a Allina Health Minneapolis Heart Institute physician or nurse practitioner to allow us to refill your medications. If you require an appointment to qualify for a refill, our staff will assist you in scheduling an appointment.

We only accepts refills directly from your pharmacy. We cannot accept patient phone calls for refill requests. Please allow one week for your refill request to be approved and processed. Some medications require that patients have appropriate surveillance lab work on file prior to authorizing the refill.

Your primary physician should refill all other medications. Your cardiologist may initiate a new prescription for heart medicine, but ask that your primary physician refill it.

In some instances, your primary cardiologist will arrange for you to meet with other members of your care team, such as nurse practitioners or nurse clinicians. Our nurse practitioners and nurse clinicians specialize in cardiovascular disease. All have extensive training and experience in cardiovascular disease treatment and management. Nurse practitioners have additional training enabling them to provide even more sophisticated diagnostic and therapeutic support for you and your primary cardiologist. Most importantly, our nurse practitioners and nurse clinicians work directly with your primary cardiologist in managing your care.

We have different cardiologists for different problems. Your primary cardiologist may send you (if needed) to the experts specific to your problem. Imaging specialists are highly trained in the interpretation of images from technology such as nuclear cameras, ultrasound machines (echocardiograms and carotid ultrasounds) and CT scanners. Interventional cardiologists are the experts in the use of catheters, angioplasty and stent insertion to open clogged coronary arteries. Electrophysiologists focus on the electrical activity of the heart to diagnose problems that cause the heart to beat too quickly, too slowly or with an irregular pattern. They may implant pacemakers or defibrillators to treat these conditions, or use medications, or in some special cases, perform a curative procedure known as radiofrequency ablation.

Our cardiologists are assigned for a week at a time to visit patients who need cardiovascular care in the hospital. This helps provide continuity in care and better case management. Your attending cardiologist will be in contact with your primary cardiologist and primary care physician during your hospitalization. After your hospital stay, your primary cardiologist will again assume responsibility for coordinating your heart care. Your hospitalization records will be available and reviewed by your primary cardiologist at your next office visit. Patients and their families, hospital nursing staff and referring physicians report higher levels of satisfaction with this team management approach.