Pacemaker service brings peace of mind

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For a 90-year-old with heart issues, having to travel over 400 kilometres for treatment is no simple matter.

But Brian Terry’s journey worries – and the concerns of his family – have been significantly reduced thanks to a potentially life-saving procedure offered for the first time in central west New South Wales (NSW) by Dudley Private Hospital.

The nonagenarian from Condobolin is the first patient in the region to have a pacemaker fitted locally instead of travelling to Sydney.

“I’m doing well, still a little sore. I’m happy to be in my own home,” said Mr Terry, who lives around 200km inland from the Orange-based hospital. 

He was able to return to Condobolin with his wife and daughter after an overnight stay.

Head of Cardiology Dr David Amos said Dudley Private’s new cardiac catheter laboratory means the hospital can now “very safely” fit pacemakers – a small device implanted in the chest to help control a slow or irregular heartbeat – and replace those with battery issues.

“Pacemaker patients are often elderly and getting to Sydney can be a challenge for them and their families,” Dr Amos said. 

“Being able to have the procedure in Orange is a major step forward for cardiology patients in the region.”

Mr Terry’s pacemaker was fitted by Dr Caroline Medi, a Sydney-based specialist who regularly visits Dudley Private Hospital, which is part of the Ramsay Health Care Australia group. 

However, Dr Amos said a new cardiologist, Dr Sameer Karve, had now moved to Orange and was completing fellowship training in cardiac device implantation with a view to starting full-time work in 2023. 

It is a continuation of Ramsay Health Care’s recent investment in the region, having also opened an $8 million mental health clinic at Dudley Private Hospital and introduced robotic technology for total knee replacement surgeries.

“I’m pleased we can offer this important procedure, right here in Orange,” Dudley Private Hospital CEO Paul McKenna said of the pacemaker service. 

“We’re committed to continually improving our services to offer central west NSW residents the best possible care, close to home.” 

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