Heart Surgery Breakthrough

Mildura Cardiology's Dr Matthew Brooks - has performed an Australian-first operation.   Mildura Cardiologist Dr Matthew Brooks (who is married to a Mildura girl) and Dr William Wilson have performed a procedure known as the 'BASILICA technique' at The Royal Melbourne Hospital - previously only performed in North America.   Photo and story courtesy of The Herald Sun:   A grandfather with a failing heart and no traditional option to help him has been saved in an Australian-first operation. Roger Reinhardt, 88, was back on his feet a day after having a new valve placed inside a leaking valve he received during open heart surgery 12 years ago, but which was now threatening to cut off blood to his heart. Mr Reinhardt’s surgeons at the Royal Melbourne Hospital hope the success of Friday’s operation will open the door to saving others who could not previously be saved with modern valve replacement techniques. With palliative care seemingly the only option for Mr Reinhardt when his old heart valve failed a fortnight ago, the Bairnsdale grandfather of 11 was offered the chance to see if a new operation could save his life. “I am privileged to be able to do this for them,” Mr Reinhardt said. “I had become very, very short of breath and it happened gradually over four or five weeks before it got to the stage I could hardly breathe at all.” A technique called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) — where a catheter is used to push the valve into place inside the worn-out valve and take over its job — has become common in recent years to save patients in Mr Reinhardt’s condition. But, like 3 per cent of such cases, Mr Reinhardt’s coronary artery is placed so close to the leaky valve that any attempt to replace it would push the device over the coronary opening and block blood supply to his heart. Having investigated a new BASILICA technique being pioneered in the US to overcome the issue, Royal Melbourne Hospital cardiac surgeons Dr Matthew Brooks and Dr William Wilson gave Mr Reinhardt a new chance. Passing an electrified wire through Mr Reinhardt’s femoral artery to his leaking valve, they cut a V-shaped gap in its side before passing a new valve along the same route and inserting it inside the old device. Although the old valve blocked the coronary artery, its strategically placed gap allowed blood to keep flowing. “He has been in hospital for weeks now and we haven’t been able to get him out so he would have been palliated,” Dr Brooks said. “He became the first (for the surgery) because the timing was right: they have done a handful of cases overseas and his anatomy was ideal for this procedure.”

Medical Student – Alston Ong

My name is Alston Ong, and I am a final year (5th year) student enrolled in Monash University Clayton Campus, Bachelor of Medicine, and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) program. I am originally from Singapore, and I am currently here in Mildura for my elective rotation in Cardiology.   Anatomy is my favourite discipline in medical school, and so I think I would enjoy being in a surgical specialty in the future. However, I chose to come to Mildura Cardiology for my elective because I wanted to get a rural experience and be well grounded in an area of medicine that was useful and applicable to whichever specialty I chose to pursue in the future. This rotation also came highly recommended by seniors and so I am looking forward to learning a lot and be inspired during my short time here.   My hobbies include swimming, basketball, and occasionally playing the competitive ‘first-person-shooter ‘computer games. My experience thus far in Mildura has been nothing short of amazing. The staff at Mildura Cardiology are extremely hospitable and everyone here is happy to go out of their way to teach or share their knowledge. Even though it has only been a week since I have started my rotation here, I can already feel that I will miss everyone here when I leave and I will definitely look forward to my next trip back here to Mildura.  

Dr Vinay Bharatula

Dr Vinay Bharatula is our latest Cardiology Registrar from The Alfred Hospital.   He is undertaking a dual training role in General and Intensive Care medicine and will be working at Mildura Cardiology and Mildura Base Hospital for the next six months. Vinay is excited to learn echocardiograghy as part of his placement in Mildura. He loves his sport and plays cricket, tennis and pretty much any other ball sports you can throw at him. He also enjoys, snow skiing, hiking and travelling the world (when he gets time). Vinay is a ‘born and bred’ Melbourne boy who loves Aussie rules football, but unfortunately barracks for Collingwood! Vinay’s long term goal is to practice as an Intensive Care and General Physician, in a variety of settings both urban and rural. He would also like to do some overseas training in the future.  

ODYSSEY Outcomes trial.

ODYSSEY Outcomes trial. Evaluation of Cardiovascular Outcomes After an Acute Coronary Syndrome During Treatment With Alirocumab. Mildura Cardiology took part in this trial of a new cholesterol-lowering agent in people with coronary artery disease who had failed to reach target levels with maximally tolerated doses of currently available medications. The trial ran from October 2012 until January 2018. It was an international, multicentre study with a total of 18,600 patients randomised. Australia enrolled 216 patients from approximately 20 sites. Mildura Cardiology enrolled 16 patients, and Leanne Morgan accepted a certificate of appreciation at a presentation in Brisbane, for our contribution to this important study as a high recruiter. Our thanks go to our 16 patients who gave up their time to help with the study.

Medical student – Edward Saxby

Edward Saxby is a final year medical student from Monash University, Melbourne who is on an elective rotation to Mildura Cardiology.   After multiple gap years, working part time and travelling, Ed will graduate and commence work as an intern with Monash Health in 2019.   Ed is interested in critical care, and to date has enjoyed rotations in intensive care and anaesthetics.   Ed is enjoying his time in Mildura, with good food, good company and a welcoming and interesting placement at Mildura Cardiology. He may be back to rotate through Mildura as an intern (10 weeks at Mildura Base) in 2019

Dr Naomi Whyler

Dr Naomi Whyler is our current Cardiology Registrar.Originally from Wales she took the long route to Mildura via Scotland and New Zealand. Her interests include exploring the river by kayak and paddle board, baking, drinking coffee and trying to learn the rules of Aussie football (we haven’t seen much baking).

Naomi is having a 'wonderful time' in Cardiology as part of her training in General Medicine, she is intending to specialise in General Medicine & Infectious Diseases.

Naomi is a bit of a prankster and enjoys confusing the staff at Mildura Cardiology by labeling various items in Welsh, then watching them try to pronounce it!

Naomi said 'after a year and a half in Mildura, the thing I'll remember most when husband and I move to Melbourne for the next stage of training will be the friendliness and generosity of everyone here - we have felt welcomed from the start and privileged to be a part of this community'.

Trainer saves collapsed footballers life

The following article was printed in the Sunraysia Daily 17.4.18   Trainer saves collapsed footballers life:   A DEFIBRILLATOR and the quick thinking of a senior trainer were credited with saving the life of a country footballer on Saturday. Kerang’s Patrick Featonby is in a stable condition after suffering a heart attack during a Central Murray league reserves clash against Balranald. He collapsed during the first quarter and was able to be revived with the defibrillator before the ambulance arrived. He was then transported by road to Mildura and then flown to The Alfred hospital. "We were very thankful both to ours and their senior trainer - without their quick action and the defibrillator, which was key to his survival - we would be having a different conversation this morning." Kerang president Rob Fisher said yesterday. "They worked on him for about 15 minutes and were able to revive him with the defibrillator before the ambulance arrived." Defibrillators have been provided at most country football grounds, including throughout Sunraysia. The footballer would see a cardiologist today but was in 'good spirits", Fisher said. The reserves match was abandoned and, after discussions between the two coaches, the senior game was also abandoned on Saturday.

Defibrillator Donations

Heart starter a life saver.

By Caitlyn Morgan - compliments of Sunraysia Daily 14.3.18

This week Mallee Accommodation and Support Program (MASP) became the 38th recipient of a defibrillator from

Mildura Cardiology.

It 's been a decade since Mildura Cardiology first donated a defibrillator to a community group and in that time two lives

have been saved.

Mildura Cardiology cardiologist Dr Alan Soward said Mildura Cardiology had provided many organisations with

defibrillators, including all Sunraysia Football and Netball League and Millewa Football League clubs.

"There have been tragic deaths in the sporting community with young people dying unexpectedly, so we thought if we

can donate these to the sports clubs, it would make a big difference to the community" Dr Soward said.

"These devices can save lives. If a person has a cardiac arrest they can restore normal heart rhythm".

"There is also the opportunity to find out what the heart problem is that led to the cardiac arrest, this information can

prevent it from happening again".

Dr Soward said the devices were fairly simple to use and no training was required, but with each device donated the

staff at Mildura Cardiology had provided instruction. "It all started off by wanting to do something for the community

and defibrillators were only just starting to appear in public locations" Dr Soward said.

"After we donated them to the sporting clubs it was well received, we expanded the donations to other sporting clubs,

schools and not-for-profit organisations".

"We know that two of the donated defibrillators have been used and were successful both times".

It was while completing first aid staff training that the need for a defibrillator was raised at MASP.

"We are a large organisation, with multiple campuses, many clients and 111 staff" MASP chief executive Gary

Simpson said.

"The defibrillator will help us respond to any critical emergencies".

"If you only use it once, then it was worth having one and it gives us peace of mind".

"At this stage we will be placing the defibrillator in the day activity centre but will look to purchase one or two more in

the future" he said.

"Any organisation with more than 100 staff should consider investing in one".

Practice manager at Mildura Cardiology Raelene Johns said it was important for those with defibrillators to regularly

check the use-by dates of the pads and batteries.      

Dr Melissa FitZerald

 Our latest Cardiology Registrar is Dr Melissa Fitzgerald. She grew up in West Gippsland and now lives in Melbourne.  She studied Medicine at Melbourne University and is now a doctor at The Alfred Hospital where she is currently a 1st year Royal Australasian College of Physicians Advanced Trainee in Acute and General Medicine.  Interests include travelling, paddle boarding the Murray River, and eating/drinking with family and friends.  She loves dogs, and enjoys swimming, shopping and spending Tom’s money, reading, Pilates and music.  She has enjoyed her time at Mildura Cardiology so far and says “it provides excellent learning opportunities in cardiology, particularly with ECG’s and Echo’s. There is a broad base of medicine with interesting diagnoses and lovely patients.” She added under duress “the Staff are amazingly welcoming and inclusive like you have your own little family here“.  Things that have impressed her about Mildura include the wineries, Fossey's Gin Distillery, the people, the weather and the Murray River.    

Cardiac & Respiratory Centre

  We have entered into an arrangement with Mildura Private Hospital, to lease some rooms in what was formally Geraldton Wing. This has allowed all our echocardiography services to be moved from Mildura Cardiology to the new rooms in Mildura Private Hospital. Yellow painting on the driveway outside the main entrance to Mildura Cardiology guides the way to the new echocardiography area. We also have a reception and waiting room area and to date this has all been functioning very smoothly, allowed us to create some more consulting space in the Mildura Cardiology building.