Thursday, October 26, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

More Options For Cardiac Patients

Mackay Base Hospital is receiving a boost to its ability to identify cardiac issues thanks to Mackay Hospital Foundation and Daly Bay.

Local Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Specialist, Dr Stephen Luke, is attending a masterclass in Critical Care Transoesophageal Echocardiorgraphy in Europe, thanks to a grant from Daly Bay, coordinated by the Mackay Hospital Foundation.

One avenue to detect cardiac issues is a transoesophageal echocardiogram (TOE) which is a specialised procedure which can be performed at the patient’s bedside to get detailed images of the structures of a beating heart.

Similar to a gastroscopy, a probe is passed through the mouth and into the oesophagus which lies behind the heart. This process allows for a clearer picture of the heart than an ultrasound where images may be inhibited by other organs.

A transoesophageal echocardiogram enables a clear view of the heart structure such as the chambers and valves, while also evaluating blood flow and pressures within the heart.

Currently, only one doctor in Mackay is qualified to carry out this procedure so in the event that a patient requires this diagnostic test and the qualified doctor isn’t  

available, patients are then sent to Townsville where they could potentially wait some time for an appointment.

Dr Luke has undertaken post-graduate studies in Clinical Ultrasound to be qualified in this diagnostic testing procedure and thanks to Daly Bay, he will complete his practical studies in Europe in December.

Mackay Hospital Foundation General Manager Kristi Algate said, “When Dr Luke first spoke with Mackay Hospital Foundation about the opportunity to attend a masterclass in Critical Care Transoesophageal Echocardiorgraphy in Europe, we approached Daly Bay for funding to cover the cost of the masterclass and knowing the benefits involved for our region, Daly Bay was very pleased to be a part of this opportunity.”

Daly Bay Senior Specialist Public Relations, Sharon Johnston, said the organisation aimed to fund opportunities that improved the liveability of Mackay.

“We are very glad Mackay Hospital Foundation approached us about the opportunity to fund the expansion of Dr Luke’s expertise, as this will provide improved health outcomes for the Mackay Region.

“The better our health services are in Mackay, the more likely people will want to live and stay in the region.”

Having a doctor in Mackay to be able to conduct this procedure is wonderful but having two doctors based in Mackay will add so many more benefits to cardiac patients in our region.

Dr Luke said, “The masterclass is conducted by the best of the best medical professionals in the northern hemisphere sharing experience from France, USA and Canada. It will be an amazing opportunity to learn from these people and  

unfortunately, this option isn’t currently available in Australia, so I appreciate Daly

Bay providing funding to allow me to do this.

“Some of the patients who would benefit from this procedure are those who have suffered cardiac arrest or heart failure, patients in severe respiratory distress such as with flu or COVID, and patients with heart valve infections resulting from sepsis.”

Dr Stephen Luke

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