News in brief: Cardiologist gets 4 hours sleep a day; Myocarditis after mRNA vaccine; Excellence award for A/Prof Peter Psaltis

Tuesday, 22 Jun 2021

Overworked cardiologist gets only 4 hours sleep a day

A cardiologist working in regional Australia has told an inquiry that he has to survive on four hours sleep a day and regularly works more than 80 hours a week because of workforce shortages.

Dr Seshasayee Narasimhan told an NSW parliamentary committee that his “extraordinarily large workload” was due to him being the only cardiologist living and working in the mid north coast region, despite the area’s poor cardiovascular health.

He said he had been asking for five years for an additional cardiologist, but chronic underfunding meant the Manning Base Hospital found it difficult to attract any applicants for the position.

“I’m lucky that I only sleep four hours a day … it doesn’t affect my ability to give care but it incredibly frustrates me that I can’t provide the contemporary, current and expected care.”

Myocarditis reported in young people receiving mRNA vaccine

Increased cases of myocarditis and pericarditis have been seen after mRNA COVID-19 vaccination (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna), particularly in adolescents and young adults, according to a report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In most cases, onset is typically within several days after mRNA COVID-19 vaccination, and cases have occurred more often after the second dose than the first dose, according to the CDC report.  It advises clinicians to consider myocarditis and pericarditis in adolescents or young adults with acute chest pain, shortness of breath, or palpitations.

“For initial evaluation, consider an ECG, troponin level, and inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein and erythrocyte sedimentation rate. In the setting of normal ECG, troponin, and inflammatory markers, myocarditis or pericarditis are unlikely,” it states.

The CDC said there had not been a similar reporting pattern observed after receipt of the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine (Johnson & Johnson).

NHMRC research excellence award for Associate Professor Peter Psaltis

Adelaide cardiologist Associate Professor Peter Psaltis has been awarded the NHMRC’s Marshall and Warren Innovation Award for his work in defining a new player in atherosclerosis: the role of Adventitial Haemangioblasts as an ‘outside-in’ driver of plaque growth and stability.

Associate Professor Psaltis is Leader of the Heart and Vascular Program at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) and Head of Acute and Interventional Coronary Services at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

His project studies a unique type of stem cells that his team discovered in the outer layer of arteries that can form both macrophages and endothelial cells. His team is investigating how these unique stem cells contribute to plaque growth and instability to develop new therapies to treat atherosclerosis more effectively.


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