Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

How to Go about Getting a Second Opinion

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

How to Go about Getting a Second Opinion

Article excerpt

Byline: Zorba Paster

Dr. Zorba: I have recently been diagnosed with AV Nodal Reentrant Tachycardia. This fast heartbeat is driving me crazy. For years. I've taken medications that break this rhythm, but it's happening more and more often. That's why my cardiologist recommended ablation therapy. I've read about this. It's scary. They thread a catheter from your groin into your heart and then electrically zap the highway that's carrying the super-fast beat. She said it had a high success rate. I'm not sure I want this done, but I do hate these episodes. I'm looking for a second opinion. How do I search for one? How do I know if it's accurate? Will the second opinion be covered by insurance? This is my body - I want the best thing for it.

Ed from Oklahoma City

Dear Ed: Super questions - easy to ask, but hard to answer. Let me give you the steps I'd take to sort this out.

First of all, you will want to teach yourself all about your disease. Knowledge is power. Go to a reputable specialty clinic website such as Johns Hopkins, Mayo Clinic or a university website. Medscape also is a good one. The Internet, full of other information, is wonderful, but it's also filled with noise and, frankly, garbage. Remember, as with all things, those who are unhappy tend to write the longest and most persuasive arguments.

Next, ask your primary provider for a recommendation. I would choose someone at a different clinic, in a different town, preferably, someone who isn't best buds with your heart doctor. Because medicine can be just like a guild, doctors often are reluctant to deliver a different opinion, especially if they work side by side with the original doctor.

Now, what about your insurance company - will they agree that the second opinion is necessary? I must tell you that when I deal with patients in my office who ask insurance questions, I always duck them because it's so easy to be wrong and so difficult to be right. …

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