Specialist centres 05 April 2023

Australia’s first cardiac hospital has research at heart

The $577 million Victorian Heart Hospital is now officially open. The nation’s first standalone heart hospital is in the Monash University precinct at Clayton in Melbourne’s south-east.

Patients will have access to cutting-edge treatments thanks to the Monash Victorian Heart Institute hub for cardiac research, specialist training and patient clinical trials co-located within the hospital.

Professor Stephen Nicholls is Director of the Monash Victorian Heart Institute and Program Director at the new Victorian Heart Hospital.

He has played a pivotal role in development of the hospital, which combines advanced patient care with research embedded at its core.

Headshot of Professor Stephen Nicholls, Program Director of the Victorian Heart Hospital.

‘Research and innovation has greatly advanced the treatment of cardiac patients, and it’s important to bring scientific innovations into clinical care sooner.’

Professor Stephen Nicholls, Program Director of the Victorian Heart Hospital, and Director of the Monash Victorian Heart Institute

Better patient care

Ambulance Victoria data shows that every day around 19 Victorians suffer a cardiac arrest outside a hospital setting, and only one in 10 survive.

The Department of Health estimates more than 300,000 Victorians live with heart disease – and with a growing and ageing population, this number is set to increase.

Prof Nicholls says embedding research and teaching in a state-of-the-art facility means patients will have access to cutting-edge treatment sooner.

‘Better patient experiences are a critical component of how we've designed this building. We want to do great things for a lot of patients and improve their (health) outcomes,’ Prof Nicholls said.

‘There's an incredible opportunity to be involved in clinical trials - whether it's of a new medication, whether it's one of our new devices in our interventional labs or our operating theatres, whether it's even just new ways of delivering the care that we already have.

‘Bringing researchers close to patients and clinicians, enables (researchers) to make discoveries and inventions. It means we can bring those inventions to the clinic much faster.’

Professor Stephen Nicholls explains the benefit of having cardiac research co-located at the new Victorian Heart Hospital

IMAGES: View upward from the ground of a section of the hospital, followed by an aerial view of the hospital and surrounding suburb, and view upward of the upper level of the hospital.

VOICEOVER: We're really excited. This is the first standalone heart hospital in the country. The only one of its type in the southern hemisphere.

IMAGES: Professor Nicholls speaking in a conference room of the hospital.

VOICEOVER: This has been an extraordinary journey. My colleagues started to think about a dedicated heart facility probably about a decade ago.

IMAGES: A tracking shot across a section of the hospital façade.

ONSCREEN TEXT: How is research embedded in the hospital?

IMAGES: Professor Nicholls speaking in a conference room of the hospital, followed by view upward of the upper level of the hospital.

VOICEOVER: This project is completely about innovation. We're not just building a heart hospital. We're putting a heart hospital on a university campus.

IMAGES: Professor Nicholls and a colleague talking, silhouetted against a large viewing window, then walking along a corridor flanked by work benches, followed by a view of a research laboratory.

VOICEOVER: We're embedding our research. It brings our researchers close to our patients and our clinicians to be able to make new discoveries, new inventions. We can bring those inventions to the clinic much faster.

IMAGES: Professor Nicholls speaking in a conference room of the hospital.

VOICEOVER: It's important for our researchers. It's important for our patients because it means that our patients will have access to cutting-edge treatments.

IMAGES: An operating theatre, followed by a CT scanner.

VOICEOVER: There are some patients with heart disease where there are no treatments that can help them. We need new solutions.

IMAGES: Professor Nicholls speaking in a conference room of the hospital, followed by doors opening into an operating theatre.

VOICEOVER: If I was a patient in this hospital, there's an incredible opportunity to be involved in clinical trials, new ways of delivering the care that we already have.

ONSCREEN TEXT: A national training hub.

IMAGES: Lights within an operating theatre, followed by a tracking shot moving down a section of a research laboratory.

VOICEOVER: We have an opportunity to be the epicentre for teaching and training the next generation. and they're not just doctors. We're talking about nurses, physiotherapists, dietitians, genetic counsellors, you name it. This is going to be the national hub for where we're going to train people.

IMAGES: An operating theatre, followed by a lecture theatre and research laboratory.

VOICEOVER: Whether it's operating somebody in one of our operating theatres, or putting a new heart valve in one of our interventional cath labs. We can have people sitting our lecture theatres, our meeting rooms watching that, and then we can quickly decamp out into teaching areas and debrief and talk about what we just saw and why that's important.

IMAGES: Research laboratory.

VOICEOVER: We can simulate a whole bunch of new interventional procedures to use across the region, work closely with industry where we know that kind of simulation training is increasingly important.

ONSCREEN TEXT: How will you innovate future treatments?

IMAGES: aerial view tracks across the hospital, followed by close up of theatre lighting.

VOICEOVER: We see this whole building for us being a smaller part of Monash Health. It's not just about innovation from a research and teaching perspective. It really allows for us to innovate the way that we simply just look after our patients on a day-to-day basis.

IMAGES: Upward view of façade of section of the hospital.

VOICEOVER: It’s fundamentally about the patient. We want people home and well and live the lives they want to live.

IMAGES: Frame with ‘In partnership with Monash Health (logo) and Monash University (logo)’.

IMAGES: The closing slide is the Victorian Health Building Authority logo, the web address vhba.vic.gov.au and the Victorian State Government logo.

End of transcript.

Survivor welcomes new Victorian Heart Hospital

Photo of Gerard Bakker running along a path with a pond in the backgroundKeen runner Gerard Bakker once thought nothing of tackling a 5km course most Saturdays. One day last year though, the 66-year-old grandfather’s jog in Belgrave Heights became a matter of life and death.

He felt back pain and before long, ‘I was out,’ Mr Bakker recalls.

But he was ‘in the right place when the wrong thing happened’ - his life was saved by his daughter performing CPR, a nearby defibrillator and paramedics.

‘I remember one of the paramedics said to me: “Welcome back, you are okay, you’ve just had a cardiac arrest.”’

Taken by ambulance to Monash Medical Centre, Mr Bakker had a stent inserted into a coronary artery and is doing well.

‘My cardiac health is good, I am told. I now have a cardiologist who I see regularly.’

Mr Bakker considers himself to be lucky that so much help was at hand when disaster struck, and believes the new Victorian Heart Hospital means more people will be able to access life-saving care.

‘I think it will improve outcomes for people… There is always room for improvement in any system and the new heart hospital is one of those.’

Tailored design from the ground up

The Victorian Heart Hospital is a purpose-built centre of excellence that will enable integration of clinical and scientific resources and expertise as well as the latest technology.

At ground level, the hospital’s emergency department will receive urgent patients, along with a helicopter landing pad on the roof. Patient wards and surgical theatres are on the higher levels of the hospital – all operated by Monash Health.

One level is devoted to research and training.

Home to the state’s leading cardiac specialists and researchers, the Victorian Heart Hospital will provide life-saving diagnosis and treatment for thousands of patients each year.

Slide to Navigate

Part of improving the experience of patients, patient rooms being on the building’s upper levels means each has a window and views to the outside world.

‘We want to provide patients with holistic, patient-focused care while also delivering world-class education and training opportunities,’ Prof Nicholls said.

‘We’re going to bring research and treatments out of the lab and to patients’ bedsides.’

‘Research and innovation has greatly advanced the treatment of cardiac patients, and it’s important to bring scientific innovations into clinical care sooner.’ added Prof Nicholls.

Learn more about the Victorian Heart Hospital via our dedicated project page.

Illustration of community members engaging with a VHBA project

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Last updated: 05 April 2023