St Andrew’s still leads the way in cardiac care

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30 years after becoming the first private hospital in Queensland to perform open heart surgery, St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital has again showed it is at the forefront of cardiac care.

The UnitingCare Health facility is the first hospital in the southern hemisphere to use new technology to obtain high resolution 3D maps of the heart.

The Rhythmia Mapping System (RMS) captures maps of complex arrhythmias in the heart more quickly and accurately than other systems.

It is being used on patients undergoing cardiac ablation – a procedure used to scar small areas of the heart that may be causing heart rhythm problems.

St Andrew’s cardiologist Dr John Hayes has recently used the RMS in arrhythmia procedures. He said the system is vastly superior to other mapping systems he has used.

“A map with current systems might have 150 activation points and take 30 minutes to generate…the RMS will generate an activation map of 5000 points in 10 minute,” he said.

“It’s like the early digital photos taken with a one megapixel camera versus a new 50 megapixel camera. This will help us locate difficult arrhythmias more precisely and allow us to ablate them and cure them.”

In 1985, cardiothoracic surgeon Dr Michael Gardner led the team that established the first private open heart surgery unit in Queensland at St Andrew’s.

Since then, more than 16,000 open heart surgical procedures have been performed.

St Andrew’s general manager Andrew Barron said the facility has a long history of cardiac care and innovation.

“Thirty years later, we are now the first hospital in the southern hemisphere to utilise the Rhythmia Mapping System in a commercial setting which offers benefits to doctors and patients,” Mr Barron said.

“Our commitment to provide the most advanced cardiac care to our patients continues today.”

The RMS has previously been used at the Royal Melbourne Hospital for research purposes, but St Andrew’s is the first facility to use it in a commercial capacity.

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