Noosa Hospital
Part of Ramsay Health Care


New service gives Noosa doctors a closer look at the heart

Feb 22, 2020

A procedure which provides doctors with a close-up view of the heart is now available to cardiac patients at Noosa Hospital.

Trans-oesophageal Echocardiogram (TOE) is a similar procedure to an endoscopy, which involves sliding a small probe down a patient’s throat under anaesthesia, to capture high resolution images of the heart.

Noosa Hospital cardiologist, Prof Christian Hamilton-Craig, said the procedure provides the ability to diagnose heart conditions with increased accuracy and improved resolution compared to a standard heart ultrasound.

“In some cases, the images can be 50 per cent more accurate, particularly for diagnosing infections of the heart,” Prof Hamilton-Craig said.

The 20-minute procedure is used in diagnosing and treating various cardiac conditions, including:

  • Endocarditis (an infection inside the heart)
  • Atrial fibrillation (a common irregular rhythm)
  • Identifying the need for heart valve surgery

TOE is also used to look for clots inside the heart prior to a cardioversion, a procedure used to treat atrial fibrillation (AF) which involves using a brief electric shock to reset the heart to normal rhythm.

Noosa Hospital CEO, Oliver Steele, said: “We are always looking for new ways to improve health care outcomes for our patients, and incorporating beneficial new technologies and techniques is an important part of that.”

“We are pleased to offer Trans-oesophageal Echocardiogram at Noosa Hospital to maximise the ability of our medical specialists to care for our cardiac patients,” Mr Steele said.

Previously, Noosa patients requiring the TOE procedure needed to travel for about an hour.

Prof Hamilton-Craig said: “I see people virtually every day requiring this procedure, so it means a lot to the community to have these services available locally.”