News in brief: Prestigious award for Australian cardiologist; Cardiovascular risk advice for BTK inhibitors; Gender discrimination still rife in medicine: RACP

Thursday, 7 Jul 2022

Prestigious US award for Australian cardiologist

Melbourne cardiologist Dr Swati Mukherjee has become the first Australian woman to be awarded a prestigious SCAI fellowship in recognition of interventional cardiology excellence.

Dr Mukherjee, a researcher and cardiologist at Cabrini Hospital was one of 370 doctors globally recognised by the US Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI), as part of its class of 2021.

With the fellowship only going to cardiologists nominated by a senior clinician, the designation recognises “experts in the field of interventional cardiology, recognized for their standards of practice and contributions to the field,” SCAI says.

Cabrini Hospital said the fellowship put her “amongst the most notable cardiologists across the globe”.

As one of just 17 female interventional cardiologists in Australia and New Zealand, she was already known for raising awareness on women’s cardiovascular issues and working to achieve gender equality in the specialty, the hospital added.

Cardiovascular risk advice for BTK inhibitors

The cardiovascular adverse effects of Bruton’s tyrosine kinase inhibitors (BTKis) used to treat cancer may require cardiologist assessment and advice, according to a new international consensus statement.

Atrial fibrillation, hypertension and heart failure may be seen in the increasing numbers of patients being treated with BTK inhibitors such as ibrutinib for conditions such as chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), the statement published in Blood Advances notes.

“Care providers should thoroughly assess a patient’s cardiovascular risk level before treatment initiation including established cardiovascular diseases and risk factors and performing investigations, dependent on pre-existing diseases and risk factors, including an ECG,” the authors advise.

For patients with high cardiovascular risk, BTKi treatment is often appropriate in consultation with a multidisciplinary team, and more selective BTKis that appear to have lower cardiovascular risks are preferred, the statement suggests.

BTKi treatment should generally be avoided in patients with a history of heart failure, and ibrutinib should be avoided in patients with a history of ventricular arrhythmias, it advises.

Gender discrimination still rife in medicine: RACP

More than a third of RACP members have experienced gender-based discrimination in the workplace and half say they want the college to do more to address the issue, a survey suggests.

The figures were released last month as part of the RACP’s Gender Equity in Medicine Working Group Report, which recommended the college include combating sexism as a top priority in its official strategic plan.

While it stopped short of suggesting quotas, it also called on the RACP to “develop and implement initiatives” to track and improve the gender distribution of college leadership positions and committees.

“The college needs to play an important role in working with our members and relevant organisations to advocate for gender equity in medicine,” it added, pointing to flexible training and part-time work as key areas of improvement.

Some 1671 RACP members answered the poll, accounting for roughly 6% of the total membership, according to the report.

Over 80% said they thought it was appropriate for the RACP to play a leading role in promoting gender equity.

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