St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne Heart Centre celebrates 10 years of bolstering public health and expert-led care


November 2023 marks the 10th anniversary of St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne’s (SVHM) Heart Centre. It has cared for almost 140,000 patients and provided space for world-leading clinicians to engage in expert clinical care and research.

In 2013, when the centre opened, SVHM’s cardiology facilities had become “too small” to meet the demand of a growing number of patients and a need to better understand heart-related illness.

The Heart Centre allowed the cardiology department to confront both sides of the challenge – massively expanding capacity for patients while creating space for experts to turn research into practice.

Providing the equivalent of four extra outpatient facilities.

“When we opened the Heart Centre, it increased the number of patients we were seeing by 410 per cent in the first year, and it has grown steadily since,” said Associate Professor Andrew Macisaac, SVHM’s Director of Cardiology.

“Since it opened, we have seen nearly 140,000 patients, which represents 85 per cent of all the outpatients seen here (over that period).”

By expanding SVHM’s capacity to see cardiac patients so dramatically, the centre has significantly improved public health access for all Victorians.

It has also contributed an expert-led, state-of-the-art facility to the public health system in Victoria.

“When we opened, we introduced a new way of doing things where we prioritise giving patients personalised care from our expert cardiologists,” said A/Prof Macisaac.

That, in turn, provided a space for experts to feed their clinical and research work into one another, with world-renowned cardiologist researchers running clinics and clinical trials in the Centre.

A cycle of clinical practice and research discoveries

There are more than 40 expert cardiologists working with patients at St Vincent’s Heart Centre.

Many of the centre's cardiologists also work on pioneering research studies “to better understand the conditions that we’re treating,” while many patients also participate in national and international clinical trials run through the centre.

Some of the centre’s well-known researchers (pictured below) include Dr Elizabeth Paratz, whose research focuses on sudden cardiac arrest, and Associate Professor Andre La Gerche, who is a world-renowned expert in sports cardiology.

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Dr Paratz was the lead investigator on a recently published three-year long trial, based at SVHM, that found the rate of sudden cardiac arrest in young people was under recognised and exceeded the demographic’s road toll.

A/Prof La Gerche, who is also the head of the National Centre for Sports Cardiology, has more than 300 peer-review publications and text-book chapters, serves on multiple international guideline statements and is regularly invited to present at major international cardiology conferences.

They, together with dozens of other cardiologists, allied health and medical administration staff, have helped ensure the success of the Heart Centre over the past ten years.

“I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to the Heart Centre’s success and congratulate the team on reaching this milestone, and on their tireless efforts to continue providing the highest standard of cardiac treatment of care,” said A/Prof Macisaac

“The future of the Heart Centre is that it’s going to continue to grow and develop.

“We have people who are world leaders in their field who want to apply the new knowledge we have about the treatment of heart patients and continue to better understand the conditions we are treating, which this will lead to more new treatments.”

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