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Revolutionising Heart Health: Atrial Fibrillation Masterclass supports QLD GPs with AFib patient education

Over 60 Queensland General Practitioners attended an Atrial Fibrillation Masterclass event in April to acquire advanced training in the treatment of Atrial Fibrillation (AF) patients. The one-day Atrial Fibrillation Masterclass was sponsored in partnership between the QCG Atrial Fibrillation Institute, St Andrews War Memorial Hospital, and medical device company AtriCure.

The education and networking event provided a valuable opportunity for GPs to meet with QCG Electrophysiologist Cardiologists (EPs), along with a leading Neurologist and Cardiac Surgeons to gain a thorough understanding of the importance of stroke prevention, and the changing options for treatment and management of Atrial Fibrillation throughout a patient’s lifetime. QCG and Atrial Fibrillation Institute dietician, Anita Tait was also in attendance for discussion on additional lifestyle management support.

Educating GPs about the latest AFib treatments is a core part of the Institute’s vision to support patients.

The Atrial Fibrillation Masterclass event was the most recent of the education events from the QCG Atrial Fibrillation Institute. The Institute was proudly established in 2022 within the Queensland Cardiovascular Group (QCG) in response to an urgent community need to provide a focussed, specialist service for the growing number of Australians with Atrial Fibrillation, and to introduce enhanced models of care to better support this patient group.

An integral part of the Institute’s vision is sharing education with referrers about the latest clinical advancements in the diagnoses and treatment of AF and helping them best support their patients’ management plans.

The AFib Masterclass is one of many GP education sessions given by the Institute’s Cardiac Electrophysiologists.

Dr John Hayes, Director of QCG and one of the founders of the AFib Institute said: “Working with our GP partners in helping to manage Atrial Fibrillation throughout a patient’s lifetime is key to a new approach. Gone are the days of accepting AFib in everyone with simple rate control and lifelong anticoagulation – we now have many more options available. And to do this, we need to work with our GP partners to share news on the latest research and both well-established and new treatment options.

We connect with GPs in both online as well as in-person events throughout the year as an important way to share information. And we welcome your requests for information or support in managing your patients. It was great to have this opportunity at the Masterclass to connect again.”

GPs learned about a new, innovative treatment procedure to treat persistent AFib.

Two of the presenters on the day, Cardiac Electrophysiologist Dr Tomos Walters and Cardiac Surgeon Dr Rishen Naidoo, were widely featured in the media last month showcasing the new Convergent Ablation procedure, which has been successfully performed by the pair, in a first for Eastern Australian patients.

The procedure involves a two-stage combination of surgical and catheter ablation treatments and is specifically for patients with persistent or long-standing Atrial Fibrillation. Up until now, this is a group that may have had significant symptoms impacting on their quality of life, or significant impact on their heart function – and there was little that was available to help.  

Dr Walters told referrer attendees that the new technique aimed to improve quality of life, minimise stroke risk, protect heart function, and suppress Atrial Fibrillation in challenging AF patients. 

“With the Convergent Ablation procedure, we have something to offer these patients with long-standing atrial fibrillation. It’s opened a cohort of patients who can benefit from advanced rhythm control and we’re really excited about that,” Dr Walters said.

For more information about the new Convergent Ablation procedure, visit here or view Channel 9 news coverage here.