Dorset Heart Clinic announces University Hospitals Dorset has joined exclusive list of Global Heart Centres of Excellence

Dorset Heart Clinic is proud to announce its NHS partner, University Hospitals Dorset (UHD) has been named as one of only nine ‘Centres of Excellence’ in the world for the treatment of a debilitating heart condition, called Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), at Royal Bournemouth Hospital.

UHD joins world-renowned cardiology centres including those at London’s Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospital and Stanford University in the US, who are also on the list.

SVT is a rapid abnormal heartbeat caused by defects in the electrical system that controls the heart’s rhythm. Patients can experience a sudden rise in heart rate from a resting rate of 60 beats per minute to more than 200, leading to breathlessness, dizziness, chest pain, a pounding heart and extreme anxiety.

Arrhythmia Alliance – a coalition of charities, patient groups, patients, carers, medical groups, and allied health professionals – has now awarded UHD ‘Centre of Excellence’ status, in recognition of their treatment success rates – 95 per cent of patients are permanently cured of the condition – as well as an active research programme which has seen a number of scientific papers published.

The condition is treated using a technique called catheter ablation – wires are inserted from the top of the leg and guided to the heart, enabling the detection of abnormal circuits which are then cauterised.

SVT can be frightening and incapacitating, says Dr Richard Bala, consultant in electrophysiology and clinical lead in cardiac rhythm management, based at Royal Bournemouth Hospital, part of UHD.

“It’s debilitating for sufferers,” he said. “It causes unpredictable episodes of breathlessness, chest pounding and a feeling that they are about to black out, which patients can experience anything from just a few times each year to more than once a day.”

More than 300 patients with SVT from across Dorset, west Hampshire and Wiltshire have been successfully treated over the last year after undergoing catheter ablation for the condition, and more than 95 per cent of patients are permanently cured.

Ann Blake, from Bournemouth, was treated in May this year.

“My heart problems started when I had treatment for cancer 21 years ago,” explains Ann.

“The cardiology team picked up on the fact I was experiencing episodes of fast heart rhythms in my sleep – it occurred to me that it wasn’t nightmares that had been causing me to wake up in the middle of the night with a feeling of sheer panic, it was a heart problem.

“It would come on at any time, in the shower, in front of the television, anywhere – and it was frightening. I wondered each time if it was the start of a heart attack.

“Since having the treatment I haven’t had a single episode, and I don’t have to worry about one coming on unexpectedly.

“The cardiology team at Royal Bournemouth, from start to finish and throughout Covid-19, have all been incredible.”

Dr Bala says stories like Ann’s have helped the service receive worldwide attention. “This accreditation is a reflection of the hard work and enthusiasm of our team in providing the very best care for our patients – we are very proud.”

If you have any heart concerns or symptoms and would like to be reviewed, please contact the Dorset Heart Clinic to be seen by one of our expert cardiologists. We will always provide an appointment within a few days of being contacted.

Dorset Heart Clinic Consultant Cardiologist named Editor-in-Chief of Prestigious Global Cardiology Journal

Dr Peter O’Kane, a Dorset Heart Clinic consultant interventional cardiologist has been named editor-in-chief of the global medical journal, Interventional Cardiology: Reviews, Research and Resources.

Dr Peter O’Kane will edit the journal – which contains evidence-based and peer-reviewed content showcasing the best research and innovation in cardiology from around the world – alongside his role as a cardiologist at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital, part of University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust.

The print and online journal allows clinicians to share information and cardiology updates quickly while also playing host to live educational events and teaching sessions.

Dr O’Kane said: “During the pandemic, medial professionals relied heavily on quick, reliable information and this has continued. Being the editor-in-chief allows our trust to network with professionals and researchers from around the world and brings the newest innovative studies and trials directly into our hospitals.”

Continuing the trust’s contribution to education, research and practice, the cardiology department takes part in many international studies such as interventional trials, electrophysiology trials and heart failure studies. While in treatment, patients are offered clinical trials and many patients have given their time to help further research.

Dr O’Kane added: “For me, getting this position is a reflection on how fantastic the cardiology unit is and how much we contribute as a team. I am eager to use my cardiology experience to help develop the medical journal and I am optimistic about the opportunities this will bring into the Trust.”

If you have any heart concerns or symptoms and would like to be reviewed, please contact the Dorset Heart Clinic to be seen by one of our expert cardiologists. We will always provide an appointment within a few days of being contacted.

Common Myths and The Facts on Heart Attacks

Not only are heart attacks dangerous because they interrupt blood supply to the heart—they are dangerous because of the misconceptions many people are why they happen and when to seek care. To help clear the air around heart attacks we’ve gathered the 5 myths we hear most frequently and have addressed each with facts.

Remember: If you suspect the symptoms of a heart attack, dial 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance.

Don’t worry if you have doubts. Paramedics would rather be called out to find an honest mistake has been made than be too late to save a person’s life.

Myth 1

A person having a heart attack always feels sharp pain and numbness in the arm.
Heart attack symptoms vary widely and chest pain and numbness are not always present. Other symptoms can include difficulty breathing, sweating, a cold or clammy feeling, nausea or vomiting, fluttering in the chest or light-headedness. Women in particular often do not experience ‘classic’ symptoms. Fatigue, palpitations and sometimes a less intense chest pain is often reported by women having a heart attack.

Myth 2

During a heart attack, the heart stops beating.
Sometimes the heart stops beating, but not always. During a heart attack, the heart muscle begins to die. The heart may continue to beat but the situation is serious and you must seek urgent medical care.

Myth 3

A young, healthy person with normal cholesterol will not have a heart attack.
A person with normal cholesterol level is less likely to experience a heart attack, but no one is immune. Many factors contribute to heart attack risk including your genetic makeup. Even young people can have heart attacks.

Myth 4

Heart disease is a man’s disease.
Cardiovascular disease kills the same proportion of women as it does men—that’s over a quarter of all men and women. In fact, coronary heart disease (a type of cardiovascular disease) kills more than twice as many women than breast cancer. Considering these figures it’s worrying that some women believe that heart disease won’t affect them, instead believing it’ll only affect middle-aged men.

Myth 5

Coughing vigorously during a heart attack could save your life.
There is no medical evidence to support ‘couch CPR’, which suggests you can help yourself by couching vigorously if you think you’re having a heart attack and are alone. If you have a cardiac arrest you would become unconscious, and without immediate CPS (chest compressions and rescue breaths), you would die. If you are still conscious (able to do ‘cough CPR’, then you are not in cardiac arrest and therefore CPR is not needed, but urgent medical help is vital.
Skip to content