Mark Edmonds was 49 years young when he experienced excruciating chest pain and was admitted to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Emergency Department with a diagnosis of an acute myocardial infarct. In lay terms, this was a heart attack caused by the sudden and complete blockage of an artery that supplies blood to the heart muscle. Without immediate treatment, heart attack can cause permanent damage to the heart muscle or even death.
Research, such as that fostered by The Baird Institute, identified that the cause of heart attack is coronary artery disease, where a slow build-up of fatty deposits on the inner wall of the artery causes decreased flow of oxygen-enriched blood to the heart. These fatty deposits attract blood cells, causing a plaque to gradually clog and narrow the inside channel of the arteries. From the paramedic ambulance service to within the Emergency Department, the multidisciplinary team mobilised to efficiently diagnose Mark’s condition and begin immediate resuscitation. An angiogram revealed major blockages within multiple arteries, ruling out the use of stents to re-open these arteries.
A surgical review identified that a coronary artery bypass grafting (CABGs) using a healthy artery or vein from Mark would be able to re-establish blood flow to his heart muscle. An ‘on-pump’ procedure was performed to ensure that oxygen rich blood reached Mark’s brain and other vital organs while surgery established new blood flow to the heart muscle.
The Baird Institute’s work focuses upon the provision of multidisciplinary care based on clinical and research evidence to identify the best approach to surgery that is curative and considers the patient’s post-operative quality of life, reduction in chest pain symptoms (angina) and other cardiac issues that may impact upon the individual – aiming to help the person resume an active and lifestyle with the best chance for survival. Mark is a terrific example of how this approach to quality research and evidence-based care can lead to the best of all possible outcomes.