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Cardiology initiatives from the West

By Dermot - 23rd Mar 2018

The heart and stroke charity Croí, which is based in Gal­way, has recently expanded its multidisciplinary health team at the Heart and Stroke Cen­tre in the city. The charity, which was founded in 1985 and continues to support the development of cardiac and stroke services in the region, is leading the way in designing and test­ing lifestyle and behaviour change models of care focused on disease prevention and rehabilitation.

As an example of this, Croí is en­gaged in developing a model of community cardiac rehabilita­tion, which could supplement ex­isting programmes that are hospi­tal-based. This is a HSE Health and Wellbeing Division-funded initia­tive to address the identified need for increased and standardised provision of cardiac rehabilitation, which is a priority of the Health and Wellbeing Division, for imple­mentation under the HSE’s Nation­al Framework for Self-Management Support for Chronic Conditions. This project aims to examine the feasibility of providing community-based cardiac rehabilitation and de­termining the effectiveness and scal­ability of such a programme in an Irish setting. The initiative, which is based on the Croí MyAction Pro­gramme, meets the British Asso­ciation of Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (BACPR) standards and core competencies.

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<strong>Mr Neil Johnson, CEO, Croi</strong>

A needs assessment of cardiac re­habilitation (phase 3) in Ireland, car­ried out in 2016, found that only 39 per cent of the need for cardiac re­habilitation is met by current capac­ity nationally, at the narrowest defi­nition of need (ie, patients admitted to hospital with acute coronary syn­drome; post-revascularisation; or heart failure). The gap in provision is variable around the country and similar in the Saolta Hospital Group to the national picture. When you broaden the criteria for referral to in­clude patients with a wider range of conditions for which cardiac rehab is recommended, the deficit is even greater. Expansion of current capac­ity by a minimum of 61 per cent is re­quired nationally.

Ideally, the development of a community-based cardiac rehabil­itation programme should contrib­ute to increased access and availa­bility of cardiac rehab for the pop­ulation and support current hospi­tal provision, which is delivered by excellent cardiac rehab co-ordina­tors and staff who have been oper­ating against a backdrop of signifi­cant cutbacks in recent years.

<h3>Leadership in prevention and recovery</h3>

In 2014, Croí launched the Na­tional Institute for Preventive Car­diology (NIPC), affiliated to the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway. The aims of the Institute are to pro­vide leadership through discovery, training and applied programmes in the prevention and control of cardiovascular disease; promote healthier living; raise the standards of preventive cardiology practice; and prepare leaders to advance pre­ventive healthcare in Ireland. Cur­rently, over 1,200 healthcare pro­fessionals, educators and research­ers have joined the NIPC Alliance, which provides regular updates on latest research, highlights hot top­ics, and profiles upcoming training and education opportunities. Mem­bership of the NIPC Alliance is free — see for further de­tails and to sign-up for the month­ly e-bulletin.

NIPC education and training op­portunities include an MSc Degree and Postgraduate Diploma in Pre­ventive Cardiology at NUI Galway, associated with the founding pro­gramme at Imperial College Lon­don. Applications are now open for the fifth year of this programme, which commences in September 2018. This level 9 course, which uses blended learning, is available as a one-year, full-time, in-service programme leading to an MSc, or a nine-month, full-time, in-service programme leading to a PG Diplo­ma. Further details are available at

Other upcoming NIPC education and training opportunities include a ‘Cholesterol Masterclass’, which takes place in the Herbert Park Ho­tel, Dublin, on Friday, 27 April. Key sessions include: Updates on ‘Li­pid Guidelines for Optimal Man­agement’ by Dr Patricia O’Connor, Consultant Physician and Clinical Pharmacologist, St James’s Hospi­tal, Dublin; ‘Management of Lipids in Special Populations’ by Dr Der­mot Neely, Consultant in Clinical Bi­ochemistry and Metabolic Medicine, Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Trust; ‘Statin Intolerance — the Contro­versies’ by Dr Susan Connolly, Con­sultant Cardiologist, Western Health and Social Care Trust, Northern Ire­land; ‘Familial Hypercholesterolae­mia in Ireland’ by Dr Vivion Crow­ley, Consultant Chemical Pathol­ogist, St James’s Hospital, Dub­lin; and ‘Challenges to Adherence’ with Dr Joe Gallagher, GP, Wex­ford. Register for free at www.nipc. ie/conferences.html.

Another upcoming NIPC course which may be of interest to GPs, hospital doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals is a one-day workshop, ‘Demystifying the ECG’, which takes place in the Croí Heart and Stroke Centre, Galway, on Saturday, 24 March. This excel­lent training course is delivered by Dr Paul Nolan, BSc ASCST, Chief Cardiac Physiologist at Galway University Hospital. Registration is now open at <a href=””></a>.

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