The Cardiac Genomics program has now successfully established Cardiology Genomics Clinics in Queensland which are being led by local cardiologists. The clinics are now streamlining services for patients with inherited cardiac disease and allowing patients to receive support closer to home.

The clinics are bringing together clinical care, gene discovery and family screening to provide patients with a coordinated and comprehensive service.  Over 130 referrals have now been received across the clinics, which are based at The Prince Charles Hospital, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital and Cairns Hospital.

Of these, the clinics have seen 79 patients whose conditions include cardiomyopathies, inherited arrhythmias, familial hypercholesterolaemia, and inherited aortopathies. From this group, 60 patients have now received proband testing for suspected hereditary risk, and eight patients have received MBS approved genetic testing for heritable mutations associated with Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH). The first statewide multi-disciplinary team monthly meeting commenced in March.

The program is overseen by the Statewide Cardiac Clinical Network with Metro North Hospital and Health Services’ Genomics Institute hosting genetic counselling and nurse navigator services. Michael Baldini, a Nurse Navigator at the Genomics Institute, has been very busy establishing referral pathways, centralising and streamlining processes.

“One of the main benefits of these multidisciplinary clinics is being able to improve the safety of people at risk and their families,” he said.

“Inherited cardiovascular disease is normally caused by a gene mutation passed down through families. Signs of disease can show at any age and with no warning.”

“The ultimate goal of the Cardiology Genomics Clinics is to prevent adverse cardiac events by detecting disease early. This way at-risk individuals can be well managed through preventative strategies.”

Michael, who has previously trained in the UK as a genetic counsellor and specialist nurse in a combined role, said this model of care allows for a lot of flexibility.

 “This model of care, which is based on patient need and current evidence, allows us to design care pathways that are tailor made for each patient.”

“This model of care also removes any barriers that may exist for medical specialists to access information. For example, cardiologists are always updated and are an essential part of the process, which is important as communication with a cardiologist can change management plans for patients.”

“These clinics are key in supporting continuity of care for patients.”

Queensland Genomics has also funded the development of the Queensland Cardiac Outcomes Registry, which is a Statewide registry for Cardiology Genomics patients. The project team is currently progressing this together with the Statewide Cardiac Clinical Network.