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Improving the quality of life of heart patients
27 March 2015

The Heart Trust is an incorporated charitable Trust, dedicated to improving access to world-class heart diagnostic and treatment services for heart patients living in the mid North Island.

“Often the Government funding pool can’t meet community needs fast enough, the Heart Trust bridges the gap so heart equipment and services are available sooner,” says Trust chairman, George Vickers.

In the 1970’s the mid North Island was very poorly served for cardiac services and surgery.

The Trust’s funding of portable Heart Rhythm monitors at Waikato Hospital in the 1970’s, helped cardiologists detect and record irregularities in patient’s hearts and established heart monitoring services across the region.  Later the same decade, the funding of Neonatal Ultrasound equipment provided much needed equipment for assessing the hearts and brains of premature babies.

“These were just the first of a long list of initiatives funded by the Trust that helped establish Waikato Hospital as a centre of excellence for cardiac care in the region,” says Mr Vickers.

The Heart Trust subsequently provided funds for the recruitment of surgeons, and the training of staff to establish cardiac surgery at the hospital.

It has aided the purchase of life-saving simulators and equipment such defibrillators, instruments for valve replacement surgery and computer software to aid the ablation of atrial fibrillation.

In 2008 The Heart Trust and Waikato Hospital pioneered Trans catheter Aortic Valve Implantation (TAVI), where the valve is implanted via the leg, reducing the risks and making recovery time much shorter than open-heart surgery.

With the help of the Trust, state of the art treatment for patients to undergo angioplasty within an hour of arriving at the hospital was introduced in 1994.

The first combined open-heart surgery and angioplasty was carried out at Waikato Hospital in 2014.  

“The Trust’s funding has helped create a core competency in combined cardiac surgical and catheter based procedures at Waikato Hospital.

“The hospital is now well placed to provide the most up-to-date cardiac interventions possible for the residents of the Midland region, it’s important we continue to keep it that way,” says Vickers.