Thursday, March 14, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Cath Lab Celebrates 10 Years Of Lifesaving Services

A heart-themed morning tea marked the incredible milestone of a decade of lifesaving services treating and diagnosing cardiac conditions in Mackay. Clinicians and staff gathered earlier this month to celebrate the 10th anniversary and the fact almost 12,000 lifesaving procedures have been completed by the Mackay Base Hospital Cardiac Catheter Laboratory since it opened in February 2014.

Director of Cardiology Dr Michael Zhang said the 11,858 procedures performed, which ranged from angiograms, stents, implantable cardiac-recording devices, permanent pacemakers and defibrillators, was an extraordinary milestone for a regional hospital.

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in Australia, Dr Zhang said.

“The Mackay cardiac cath lab boasts a wide range of cardiac treatment options and Queensland Cardiac Outcomes Registry (QCOR) data has demonstrated this is one of the safest cath labs in the state, which is an impressive accomplishment for both the hospital and for the region,” he said.

In its first year, Mackay’s cath lab completed 463 angiograms to diagnose blockages in arteries. By its 10th anniversary, the service had completed 9835 angiograms, 2722 percutaneous coronary interventions (stents) and 572 permanent pacemakers and defibrillators. Dr Zhang said data from the QCOR also demonstrated that Mackay’s cardiac cath lab had a very high success rate in emergency coronary artery intervention for people suffering major heart attacks.

“The Mackay cath lab's phenomenal growth and expansion of services in just 10 years is an incredible achievement which enables cardiac patients in regional areas to receive the goldstandard of care, a shorter wait for diagnosis and a broad range of treatment options,” he said.

“These are people who are experiencing a massive heart attack, so these outcomes are excellent, and I am very proud of my team of cardiologists, doctors, nurses, radiographers and cardiac scientists.

“It demonstrates that people in our Mackay health region will get the same level of care as in a major city, particularly in the acute cardiology care, and in fact Mackay is one of only two regional hospitals in Queensland, who currently provide 24/7 emergency interventional services for acute massive heart attack.”

Dr Zhang said initial predictions were that the service was expected to treat about 700 patients a year when it began operating in 2014. Year on year, this number and the range of lifesaving procedures performed had been exceeded. Many patients across the community and their families were incredibly thankful for the lifesaving procedures and service of the CCL. Dr Zhang said he was grateful for the commitment, dedication and collaboration of emergency department personnel, their Intensive Care Unit (ICU) colleagues as well as the Clinical Measurements Unit (CMU) and Medical Imaging teams.

Innovation is one of the features in cardiology practice. Mackay’s cardiac cath lab was the first in Queensland to utilise shockwave therapy to treat patients with heavily calcified coronary artery stenosis in 2021. New treatment procedures recently implemented included Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (ICD) and Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT) in 2022.

The Mackay Base Hospital cardiac cath lab’s impressive list of achievements was detailed on the world stage to cardiovascular specialists from over 100 countries at the Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics conference, held in California, USA last year.

Photo captions:

Clinical nurse consultant Anna Townsend, Director of Cardiology Dr Michael Zhang, CDSO Tina Mansell and wardsperson Shellie Burston.


Clinical nurse Geethu George, cardiac staff specialist Dr Chaminda Sella Kapu and nurse educator Sue Meredith.


Cath lab staff: Cardiac Scientist Cameron Hope, clinical nurse Zoe Quakawoot, radiographer Gabby Brown, cardiac scientist Bella Zanatta and cardiac scientist Sarah Murphy.


CU Clinical Director Dr Stephen Luke and Dr Belinda Weich. Photos supplied: Mackay Hospital and Health Service


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