South Eastern Trust Makes Advances On Aortic Valve

South Eastern HSC Trust makes advances on first valve surveillance advanced nurse practitioner clinic

A pioneering first, the South Eastern Trust has launched Northern Ireland’s only Advanced Nurse Practitioner Aortic Valve Surveillance Clinic.

Aortic valve disease represents one of the greatest challenges we face as our population ages.

Timely evaluation and early treatment are key to improved quality of life and better clinical outcomes.

The South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust has been at the forefront of a service model redesign to meet this 21st century challenge.

A multi-professional team now provides a continuum of care for these patients.

The first time a patient presents with a new murmur (abnormal heart sound which can suggest a valve problem) to their GP, the Cardiac Investigation Unit will provide direct access to a specialised ultrasound scan of their heart which will confirm the diagnosis.

If Aortic Valve Disease is found and thought to be very early, the patient will enter the Valve Surveillance Programme.

The Consultant Cardiology Team review these scan images and they arrange the next valve imaging check-point using our new encompass digital healthcare record.  

Advanced Nurse Practitioner, Siobhan Herdman and Staff Nurse, Hannah Patton.

Once patients are identified by their Consultant as having progressed to moderate Aortic Valve Disease, they are referred on to Northern Irelands first Aortic Valve Advance Nurse Practitioner Clinic.

This clinic allows for face to face review of patients where their symptoms, blood tests, ECG and imaging findings are assessed.

This timely review means that many more patients who progress to severe disease are identified early so that their Advanced Nurse Practitioner and Cardiologist can arrange for the timely work-up for valve replacement surgery.

Ulster Hospital Advanced Nurse Practitioner Siobhan Herdman, said: “Severe Aortic Stenosis is generally a treatable condition with Surgery or TAVI, unfortunately tablets do not reduce the narrowing of the valve.

“If it is not operated on, the heart can start to fail resulting in breathlessness, chest pain or fainting. This can be very serious and leads to sick patients requiring emergency hospital admissions.

”Early evaluation of the service has shown that patients have greater satisfaction rates and access to more timely care. 

“It is hoped that this service will grow to allow more valve conditions to be followed up in this way, avoiding long outpatient waiting lists and unnecessary hospitalisation with the initiative rolled out in other organisations.

“I am very grateful for the support from the Cardiology Consultants, the Cardiac Investigation Unit, Cardiology Ambulatory Care and Administration Teams who have all helped to set up the clinic and have contributed to its early success.”

Operational Manager of Cardiology, Noel Black, added: “This is a very effective service in delivering timely assessment and appropriate progression to treatment for our patients.

“The multidisciplinary team involved in this service allows for a seamless journey for patients receiving care within this patient focused Cardiology Service at the South Eastern Trust.”

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