Heart failure

Two specialists better than one for breathless patients

The Woolcock Institute of Medical Research in Sydney has launched a multispeciality breathlessness clinic to fast track diagnosis and treatment for referred patients.

Patients who have been breathless for more than four weeks despite treatment will be able to see both a cardiologist and a respiratory physician at the same visit.

Woolcock respiratory physician Dr Tracy Smith said breathlessness can be a very challenging clinical problem and the new model of care offered a way forward for patients.

“We’re creating the state’s first one-stop-shop for breathlessness, promising to investigate, diagnose and treat all patients under one roof and in a timely fashion.”

“We’ll collaborate closely with GPs to ensure they are kept informed about the patient’s assessment and treatment recommendations.”

She said there were few clinical guidelines to help specialists manage problems which affected both heart and lung disease.

The clinic’s chief cardiologist Professor Len Kritharides said long-term dyspnoea could be caused by a combination of lung, heart or muscle conditions, obesity and poor fitness.

“Understanding the problem is the essential first step to treatment,” he said.

“We hope that we can help patients identify their treatment options as quickly as possible and help them live a better, healthier, more active life.”

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