DANIELLA WHITE 11 APRIL 2019
For Canberra specialists Dr Rajeev Pathak and Dr Muayad Alasady, setting up a groundbreaking cardiac service at Canberra Hospital was a dream many years in the making.
Thanks to a new cardiac electrophysiology service at Canberra Hospital, hundreds of public patients with heart rhythm problems will no longer have to travel interstate for treatment.
It also signals two careers coming full circle for the doctors whose hearts lie in Canberra.
Electrophysiology studies electrical signals and determines whether irregular heart rhythms should be treated using medication, a pacemaker, an implantable cardioverter defibrillator or via surgery.
All of this can now be managed in the ACT.
Key to the service is the ability to now perform cardiac ablation – a procedure which can cure heart irregularities – on public patients in the ACT.
Previously, patients were sent to Sydney, Melbourne or Adelaide, or simply had their conditions dealt with through medications.
Dr Pathak, the hospital’s director of cardiac electrophysiology, and Dr Alasady, a staff specialist, completed their medical training in Canberra. Both then headed overseas and interstate to complete further studies and training, carving out strong reputations in cardiology.
But the pull of Canberra brought them home as they sought to give back to the community that gave them so much.
“Myself and Rajeev, we really consider ourselves as Canberrans,” Dr Alasady said.
“We trained in this town … and we grew up here.
“I’m very proud to come back and help my community.
“We both complement each other and have really built a fantastic team around us.
“I’m really humbled to provide a service like this for the community.”
Dr Pathak said the service would be one of the most advanced cardiac mapping systems anywhere in the world.
He said he believed it would make Canberra Hospital an attractive destination for clinicians and researchers from across the country and the world.
He was lured back to Canberra in 2017, in part thanks to Dr Alasady.
He had worked in the United States at Penn Medicine as a cardiac electrophysiologist.
“I am really excited and really happy for myself and Dr Alasady who has been fighting this battle for six years,” Dr Pathak said.
Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris said that work had been under way for more than two years to establish the important service and research program.
“The service is providing patients from the ACT region with more timely and accurate diagnoses and treatments for various cardiac electrical problems,” she said.
“I am confident that with their expertise our electrophysiology service here at Canberra Hospital will become one of the world’s best.”