In Other News

Cardiologist in Australia Day Honours

Dr Ruth Arnold has been recognised with an OAM in the Australia Day Honours list for her service to medicine as a cardiologist. Dr Arnold is director of cardiology at the Orange Health Service in NSW. She is a former Chair of the Rural Working Party-Cardiology and a former Member of the State Cardiac Steering Committee of the NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation. In other contributions, Dr Arnold chaired the Imaging Working Group of the Cardiology Committee of the MBS Review.

Complaint dismissed

A patient complaint made against a Tasmanian cardiologist for prescribing diltiazem that triggered a third degree atrioventricular block (AVB) has been dismissed by the state’s Health Complaints Commissioner. The regulator found that the cardiologist acted appropriately in prescribing the medication while the patient sought a second opinion from their GP about undergoing a recommended angiogram and insertion of a pacemaker.

Cardiac pioneer dies

Tributes have been paid to Professor Ian McDonald, a pioneer in medical ultrasound and echocardiography, who has died in Melbourne at the age of 87. Professor McDonald was founder of the Cardiac Investigation Unit at St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne and was also mentor to many physicians including presidents of CSANZ such as Dr Andrew MacIsaac and Dr Michael Jelinek.

SGLT-2 inhibitor rejected for heart failure subsidy

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee has rejected an application for dapagliflozin (Forxiga) to be PBS listed for the treatment of heart failure in patients with reduced ejection fraction. The PBAC acknowledged that the SGLT2 inhibitor was effective for this indication, but ruled that its clinical place was “unclear and likely to evolve”. It said sacubitril/valsartan was not a valid comparator to meet the criteria for PBS listing, which would require the sponsor would need to show cost effectiveness for dapagliflozin added to standard care (beta blocker plus ACE inhibitor or ARB blocker) versus standard care alone.

Cardiovascular research centre funding

More than $10 million funding has been announced for a Cardiovascular Disease Research Centre from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF). The priorities for the centre will be coronary artery disease (including angina and MACE); cardiomyopathy and heart failure and stroke (ischaemic and haemorrhagic) and TIA. Like many other medical meetings for 2021, the RACP Congress will be a combination of local face-to-face meetings and virtual live-streamed sessions. The RACP Congress will run from 29 April to 14 May with local meetings in Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Wellington.

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