August 19, 2019

Heart Failure Unit opens today

The newly established Cardiology Heart Failure (CAHF) Unit commenced their ward rounds today, led by Cardiologist Associate Professor Gautam Vaddadi.

A/Prof Vaddadi said Northern Hospital Epping has the biggest cohort of heart failure patients of any tertiary hospital in Victoria, admitting over 2,000 heart failure patients per year.

“These patients have high mortality and cost the community a lot in terms of resourcing, both in hospital and out of hospital. Our goal is to keep people well and out of hospital,” he said.

“The new unit will help look after these patients better and try to optimise their management, which has become very complicated in recent years. The idea here is to bring people who have expertise in heart failure to look after these specific cohort of patients,” he added.

Heart failure can be a consequence of a heart attack, but is any form of weakness in the heart muscle that causes a particular syndrome, which is usually comprised of retaining fluid in the body, becoming short of breath and that develops because of blocked arteries in their heart and weakness in the heart muscle.

“We have to be able to look at the causes of heart failure, but also treat the consequences,” A/Prof Vaddadi said.

Internationally, it is well recognised that heart failure is best managed by dedicated cardiologists who sub-specialise in heart failure. If poorly managed, this can lead to a high number of ED presentations and high readmission rates. Conversely, early intervention and optimal treatment leads to better patient outcomes.

The Cardiology Unit at Northern Hospital has been divided into two specialist sub-units: Cardiology General (CAGE) and Cardiology Heart Failure (CAHF). CAHF will allow for improved and standardised care for this complex patient group by providing specialised inpatient heart failure management. The CAHF unit will also provide a consult service to other units as required.

The heart failure team have been working alongside the HRO Transformation Unit and have established a Clinical Community, with the aim of improving and standardising patient care both within Northern Health and out in the community.

Further exciting opportunities are in the works for collaboration with external stakeholders, to improve the care for heart failure patients across all of Victoria.