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Cardiac services at the Trust have expanded dramatically over the past few years as more patients are referred for diagnosis and treatment and there has been a corresponding increase in the number of consultants and the types of treatments the Trust can offer.

In particular, the team is able to provide a round-the-clock PPCI (angioplasty) service for heart attack patients, to unblock the arteries which carry blood to the heart.

Dr Adam Jacques, Consultant Cardiologist and Clinical Lead for Cardiology, explains: "Time is absolutely critical in these situations and we aim to be performing the PPCI procedure within 30-40 minutes of the patient arriving in A&E. We are the best hospital in the Kent, Surrey and Sussex region in terms of turnaround time and getting these patients safely home quickly."

To provide this type of 24/7 care there are two state-of-the-art catheterisation labs and all in-patient cardiology services are co-located in the new Birch Acute Coronary Unit.

Dr Jacques adds: "Having better facilities all located in one place has made a huge difference to the services and care we can provide. It means we are able to offer more complicated cardiology treatment closer to home, for which patients would have previously needed to travel into London.

 

Alongside this, imaging facilities for diagnosing heart problems have also improved.

Providing a good cardiology service, however, extends beyond the technology and life-saving treatments available. Dr Jacques explains: "Experiencing a major cardiac episode can be life-changing and traumatic. Even those who have not experienced an acute episode first hand may harbour worries and concerns.

To help, the Trust runs a patient support group with specialist nurses on hand to answer questions and provide support and an extensive cardiac rehabilitation programme aids recovery and return to fitness.

Looking to the future, Dr Jacques said: "Ashford and St Peter's is a really good local centre in terms of cardiology care and we offer some very good teaching facilities. Investing time in training the cardiology doctors of the future is an integral part of what we do and I have no doubt the field of cardiology will continue to grow with many exciting developments."

 

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