Illawarra heart patients can access care close to home


Heart patients in the Illawarra region of New South Wales no longer have to travel far from home for specialist treatment.

Wollongong Private Hospital has introduced three new cardiac procedures, supported by a brand new cardiac catheter laboratory.

Patients at Wollongong can now access:

  • Percutaneous closure of atrial septal defects, which corrects a hole in the heart; a condition which can sometimes be present at birth. This procedure involves implanting a small device to close the defect which can be indicated for patients who have suffered a stroke or are experiencing heart failure
  • Aortic valvuloplasty, which addresses a narrowing of the aortic valve which can be a cause of heart failure in patients with aortic stenosis. The procedure relieves pressure on the heart by inflating a ballon catheter across the valve, widening the area for blood flow
  • Left Atrial Appendage Occlusion (LAAO) – a procedure in which the left atrial appendage is sealed using an implant, reducing the risk of blood clots that can lead to strokes in patients with atrial fibrillation. This procedure helps patients who cannot take blood thinners because of bleeding risks.

Interventional cardiologist, Dr Edward Danson, who specialises in the treatment of coronary and structural heart conditions, successfully completed the region’s first percutaneous closure of a septal defect and valvuloplasty in January and recently performed Wollongong’s first LAAO.

“We have a really excellent team here in Wollongong delivering some of the latest and best treatments for heart disease,” Dr Danson said.

“It’s a very exciting time for the Illawarra. I’m thrilled that our patients now can be offered these treatments without having to travel long distances away from their family and loved ones.”

The cardiac procedures are offered at the Ramsay Surgical Centre at Wollongong Private Hospital, which opened in February this year.

Wollongong Private Hospital CEO, David Crowe said the centre offered stand-alone day surgery providing first class treatment to patients in specialties such as ophthalmology, gastroenterology, urology and minor orthopaedics.

“Our mission is to provide efficient, innovative, world-class treatment – as our customers deserve and expect – in a supportive and caring environment,” Mr Crowe said.

“We really wanted to make the experience as personalised and pleasant as possible for our patients, as going to hospital can sometimes be a daunting prospect.

“We decided to emulate a day spa feel with warm, soft colours taken from nature. We think this creates a more relaxed feel for patients before they go into the operating theatre.”

There are also plans to digitise the day surgery “journey” at the Ramsay Surgical Centre to make the process easier and more immediate for patients, staff and doctors.

“It’s not only current patients who will benefit from this new centre,” Mr Crowe said.

“The development has been designed for future growth – there are options to expand the services when required to cater for a growing Illawarra region.”





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