What is cardiology?

Cardiology deals specifically with the catheter-based treatment of structural heart diseases. At The Wesley Hospital, many procedures are performed on the heart by catheterisation.

Cardiac electrophysiology is the study of normal and abnormal electrical behaviour of the heart. There are generally three reasons to consider an electrical study of the heart:

  • To get to the bottom of unexplained blackouts.
  • To assess the mechanism and potentially cure a racing rhythm (tachycardia).
  • To assess the risk of life-threatening rhythms (ventricular tachycardia/fibrillation) occurring in the future, for example, in the context of prior heart muscle damage.
Electrophysiology study (EPS)
An EPS is a test used to understand and map the electrical activity with the heart. An EPS may be recommended in people with heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias) and other heart problems to understand the exact cause and determine which treatment is most likely to be effective.

Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT Ablation)
Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is an abnormally fast or erratic heartbeat that affects the heart’s upper chambers. An abnormal heartbeat is called an arrhythmia. SVT is also called paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia.

A normal heart rate is 60 to 100 beats per minute. A heart rate of more than 100 beats per minute is called a tachycardia. During an episode of SVT, the heart beats about 150 to 220 times per minute, but it can occasionally beat faster or slower.

Ventricular Fibrillation (VF Ablation)
Ventricular fibrillation is a type of abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia). During ventricular fibrillation, disorganised heart signals cause the lower heart chambers (ventricles) to twitch (quiver) uselessly. As a result, the heart doesn’t pump blood to the rest of the body.

Atrial Fibrillation (AF Ablation)
Atrial fibrillation is an irregular and often rapid heart rate that can increase your risk of strokes, heart failure and other heart-related complications. During atrial fibrillation, the heart’s two upper chambers (the atria) beat chaotically and irregularly out of co-ordination with the two lower chambers (the ventricles) of the heart. Atrial fibrillation symptoms often include heart palpitations, shortness of breath and weakness.

Devices
  • Insertion of implantable cardiac defibrillator.
  • Insertion of loop recorder.
  • Insertion of permanent pacemaker.

Angiogram
A coronary angiogram is a procedure that uses X-ray imaging to see your heart’s blood vessels. The test is generally done to see if there’s a restriction in blood flow going to the heart. Coronary angiograms are part of a general group of procedures known as heart (cardiac) catheterisations.

Percutaneous intervention (stent insertion)
Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), or coronary angioplasty, is a non-surgical procedure to improve blood flow to the heart. It involves inserting a catheter tube and injecting contrast dye into coronary arteries. PCI opens coronary arteries that are narrowed or blocked by the build-up of atherosclerotic plaque.

Right and/or left heart catheterisation
Cardiac catheterisation is a minimally invasive procedure generally employed to diagnose and treat certain heart conditions. It involves threading a thin, flexible tube through a blood vessel to the heart. Your doctor can perform diagnostic tests and some procedures on your heart with the help of the catheter.

Diagnostic cardiac catheterisation is a procedure that involves insertion of a thin flexible tube (catheter) into the right or left side of the heart, usually through the groin or arm. Cardiac catheterisation allows injection of radio-opaque dye for angiography, measurement of intra-cardiac pressures and oxygen saturations and also assists the passage of electrophysiological instruments, angioplasty and valvuloplasty balloons.

Our advanced structural heart disease program is led by expert cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons and imaging specialists, who work collaboratively to provide comprehensive leading-edge care. The Wesley Hospital is a nationally accredited TAVR/TAVI hospital, as well as being a training, clinical trial and research centre – offering patients cutting-edge technology after careful consideration with the patient and treating team.

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR/TAVI)
Transcatheter aortic valve replacement/implantation (TAVR/TAVI) is a relatively recent technique to treat aortic valve disease. Historically aortic valve disease has been managed with open heart surgery to implant a new valve. With TAVR/TAVI a new valve is taken up to the heart through a tube in the leg artery (or sometimes the arteries under the collar bone or in the neck). After careful assessment, your doctors in consultation with a team of heart specialists, including an interventional cardiologist and a heart surgeon, may recommend this less invasive procedure to treat your condition.

TASH
Transcatheter Alcohol ablation of Septal Hypertrophy (TASH) is a method of treating thickening of the heart muscle (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) that can obstruct the blood flow from the heart (hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy). It involves staging a small, managed heart attack to kill off the thickened tissue, restoring blood flow.

MitraClip
The MitraClip is a device used to treat mitral regurgitation. It was established as an alternative to open heart surgery, which is traditionally used to repair a leaking mitral valve. This less invasive procedure involves taking a repairing device to the heart through a tube in the femoral leg vein. After carefully assessing your condition, your doctors in consultation with a team of heart specialists, may find that the MitraClip procedure is a suitable treatment option for you.

ASD/VSD/PFO/PVL Closure
The percutaneous closure procedure is a treatment option that can be used to repair abnormal openings in the heart. It can also be used to repair gaps around prosthetic valves that result after surgery. This minimally invasive procedure involves carrying a repairing device through a vein in the leg up to the heart. For some patients, it can be a suitable alternative to open heart surgery – a decision that must be made after careful consultation and assessment with your doctors and treating specialists. This can include input from both neurologists and cardiologists.

All referrals to:

The Wesley Hospital Structural Heart Program Co-ordinator
Lynne Smith
0429 148 772
lynnette.smith@uchealth.com.au

Meet our cardiologists

Note: The information here is for general reference only. To understand the benefits and risks specific to your condition and overall situation, please discuss any procedure with your treating doctor.

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