We are delighted to announce
the launch of the Atrial Fibrillation Institute
The Atrial Fibrillation Institute has been proudly established within the Queensland Cardiovascular Group (QCG) to provide a focussed, specialist service for people with Atrial Fibrillation. With a team of experienced Cardiac Electrophysiologists (Cardiologists who specialise in Atrial Fibrillation and other heart rhythm problems), the Institute is becoming Queensland’s Centre of Excellence for people with Atrial Fibrillation.
With medical clinics in various physical locarions throughout South East Queensland along with remote telemedicine services, association with leading private hospitals, and access to the latest medical technologies, the Atrial Fibrillation Institute will provide access to the most up-to-date, evidence-based services for patients with Atrial Fibrillation, and their community of family members, referring doctors and professionals that support them.
Director Dr John Hayes said, “At QCG we have been leading the way with Cardiac Electrophysiology services for 30 years. We are excited to further enhance our management of Atrial Fibrillation for our clients with the commencement of a dedicated Atrial Fibrillation Clinical and Research Institute. This will deliver the best experience, both in terms of care and outcomes, for our clients.
What is Atrial Fibrillation?
Atrial Fibrillation, often called AFib or AF, is a common heart rhythm condition. It affects around 2% of Australians, (more than half a million people in 2020). As we age, the incidence of AFib increases. AFib affects 5.4% of the population over the age of 55 years and affects around 10% of the population by the age of 80 years. People with AFib have a fast and irregular heartbeat. AFib is a common heart ‘arrhythmia;’ a disorder of the heart that affects the rate or rhythm at which the heart beats. In patients with AFib, the top chambers of the heart (the atria) are beating ‘out of rhythm’ – the electrical activity that coordinates them becomes disorganised and chaotic.
Patients may experience symptoms such as feeling breathless, feeling faint, dizzy or lightheaded, racing heart (palpitations), tiredness or weakness, chest discomfort, and difficulty exercising. Some describe the feeling as their heart ‘flip-flops’, ‘skips beats’, and ‘feels like it’s banging against my chest wall’. Yet others may have no symptoms at all – up to 30% of people with AFib may not even know they have it.
AFib is associated with an increased chance of blood clots forming in the heart and traveling up to the brain, where they can cause a stroke – people with AFib have up to a 5-7 times increase in the risk of stroke. AFib therefore can be very dangerous. In Australia, AFib is associated with 6,000 strokes annually. Strokes can be very serious, even fatal, so it is vitally important that AFib is detected, and managed effectively.
Cardiac Electrophysiologist and Director of QCG, John Hayes said, “Modern medicine has come a long way in recent years, particularly in the management of AFib.
Gone are the days of accepting AFib in everyone with simple rate control and lifelong anticoagulation – we now have many more options available to improve the control of your AFib.
We are here to listen to your needs and tailor an individual management strategy to ensure the best outcome for you.”
Changing the Way Atrial Fibrillation is Treated
There have been significant changes in the recommendations for treating AFib in recent years, due to advancing technology, and through ongoing research improving our understanding of the condition.
Cardiac Electrophysiologists are leaders in research and advancing treatments for Atrial Fibrillation. Increasingly sophisticated medical equipment, electrical cardiac mapping, and ablation technologies, along with a better understanding of the important role of lifestyle and risk factor management have significantly changed the way that AFib is managed.
At the Atrial Fibrillation Institute, our Cardiac Electrophysiologists view Atrial Fibrillation as a complex condition that needs a customised plan for each patient – there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. Our team will support you throughout your journey with Atrial Fibrillation, from diagnosis, medications, and a range of procedures that can reduce the severity of your symptoms, reduce your risk of stroke, and slow the progression of the condition.
Your treatment plans may change over time, and your doctors will be there to assist and adapt your plan with you as your needs change.
Understanding your AFib is important – our doctors take the time to listen, help you to learn about the condition and understand your treatment options. We are working on new ways to connect and share information with you, coming soon.
Patient Care First
As the largest volume private Cardiac Electrophysiology service in Australia, at the Atrial Fibrillation Institute, we have a unique focus on services for patients first. All our Cardiac Electrophysiologists spend most of their time in clinics, hospitals, and procedures, looking after our patients.
We also provide a 24-hour, 7-day Cardiac Electrophysiologist on-call service for our hospitals and medical referrers. Our Cardiac Electrophysiologists are heavily involved in providing education for other doctors and health practitioners. All our doctors speak regularly at events for GPs, and medical and healthcare conferences – both in-person and online.
We also invest our time in research. Our team includes established researchers in Atrial Fibrillation and electrophysiology. We support both national and international multicentre trials and are looking forward to expanding our research program in the future.
A New Institute, but a Leader for Over 30 Years
While we are launching a new Institute, this has been built on the innovative treatment services developed by The Queensland Cardiovascular Group (QCG) over the last 30 years, especially in the field of Cardiac Electrophysiology.
The Cardiac Electrophysiology (EP) services were established and led by Dr Wayne Stafford and Dr John Hayes, who built an internationally recognised reputation since establishing the first private EP Service in Queensland in collaboration with the St. Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital in 1992.
Our collaborations have seen our team be involved in many ‘firsts’ – gaining access to early technology as it becomes available in the southern hemisphere, and directly from leading medical technology companies.