Staff member in Cath Lab in scrubsStaff in scrubs in the Cath LabStaff in scrubs in the Cath Lab


Life-saving technology for cardiac patients

Austin Health Cardiology department standing with new cardio echo machine
L-R: Dr Matias Yudi - Interventional Cardiologist, Dr Elizabeth Jones - Cardiologist, Dr Terase Lancefield - Deputy Director of Cardiology

Monday 11 September 2023

Recently, Austin Health purchased a high-definition, four-dimensional echocardiographic system after the H.T. Pamphilon Fund awarded a $100,000 equipment grant to the Cardiology department. Donors who supported Austin Health’s highest priorities funded the remaining $158,000 required for the machine.

Echo machines provide real-time images of the heart’s structure and function, ensuring greater safety and success of complex procedures. The machines are essential to many structural procedures in cardiology and so are in high demand throughout the day in our Cardiology department.

Cardiologist Dr Elizabeth Jones explains, “This equipment grant means we can have our own dedicated machine in the Cardiac Catheterisation lab. It is sort of the equivalent of having your own car, rather than having to borrow a car. It means we can do more procedures in a timely fashion – improving patient flow.”

“It’s made it possible to do the right procedures on the right person at the right time. It’s given us flexibility, independence and made it possible to increase the volumes of the structural heart cases we are doing,” says Dr Jones.

Having a dedicated machine has also helped to get the department’s new Structural Heart Program up and running.

Deputy Director of Cardiology Dr Terase Lancefield says, “The Structural Program is evolving and taking on new technologies, so this has allowed us to expand that program to things like Mitraclip (a procedure to fix your mitral valve). Having a growing Structural Program and a machine to support those types of procedures allows us to evolve for the future.”

With this new machine, the Cardiology team can offer cutting-edge procedures like Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantations (TAVIs) to more patients, sooner.

A TAVI is a minimally invasive procedure that helps to repair a damaged aortic valve. A small incision is made under local anesthetic, and an artificial valve is implanted in the heart. Valve procedures like this have revolutionised cardiology. TAVIs allow us to offer life-saving aortic valve replacement in patients who are deemed too high risk for open heart surgery, leading to improved outcomes and better quality of life.

"For some patients, we can perform a low-risk TAVI procedure and they will be good to go for the rest of their lives,” says Dr Jones.

The Cardiology department is close to reaching the milestone of 500 TAVI procedures, made easier by the procurement of the echo machine.

Austin Health and the Cardiology team are grateful for the generosity of donors and the H.T Pamphilon Fund.

Head of the Structural Heart Program, Dr Matias Yudi says, “We thank our generous donors for this sensational new imaging machine. It allows us to do the latest valvular interventions that are revolutionising cardiology both here and overseas.”