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Capital & Coast DHB Cardiology Service

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Cardiac Inherited Diseases

A small team of healthcare professionals based in Wellington have a focus on coordinating investigations and treatments of families who may have a cardiac inherited disease. Acting as a regional branch of the national Cardiac Inherited Disease Group (CIDG) located in the Starship hospital, referrals for advice can be received from pathologists, cardiologists, GPs, paediatricians, the national CIDG coordinators or patients themselves. The Wellington branch of the CIDG works very closely with Genetic Health Service New Zealand.

The diseases involved are those that affect the heart’s conduction system and/or nature of the heart muscle that are inheritable and have the potential to cause sudden death. The most well known examples are Long QT syndrome, Brugada syndrome, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, familial dilated cardiomyopathy and ARVC (Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy). The Cardiac Inherited Diseases Group is also often involved in assisting coronial investigations into cases of Sudden Unexpected Death in the Young (SUDY) as well as clinical or familial investigations of people who have survived an out of hospital cardiac arrest for which a cause has not been established. Both adults and children can be seen.

Families or individuals can be seen in clinics in Wellington’s cardiology department, or referred for assessments or consultations in cardiology departments in other DHBs depending on location and need. Some appointments involve seeing a cardiology consultant or nurse alongside a clinical geneticist or genetic associate due to the combined need for both services. Cardiac inherited diseases can usually be clinically managed in individuals by a cardiology consultant. The CIDG are involved when diagnoses are uncertain, particularly complex, for coordinating family member screening and providing specialist advice. Dr Andrew Aitken is the Cardiologist representing the CIDG in Wellington.  

Tests that are sometimes used as part of screening families for cardiac inherited diseases include: electrocardiogram (ECG); echocardiogram (echo); exercise ECG; Magnetic Resonance Imagining (MRI); and genetic testing. Also important for diagnosing and screening is the taking of detailed family trees covering as much information as possible over several generations. These hold essential clues as to the nature of a disease, it’s patterns of inheritance and those individuals who may benefit from screening in the future.

For more details about the area of cardiac inherited disease in New Zealand, see the website www.CIDG.org

To contact the Wellington branch, email or phone (04) 918 5727 to leave a message for the cardiac inherited diseases nurse who works two days a week.

Activities in preventing deaths due to cardiac inherited diseases are very kindly significantly funded by the Cure Kids charity.

This page was last updated at 2:44PM on December 4, 2019.