The cardioversion programme at the Mater University Misericordiae Hospital, Dublin, is due to recommence after being postponed for more than six months due to the pandemic. A hospital spokesperson confirmed to the Medical Independent that cardioversion for atrial fibrillation (AF) had been paused after a GP raised concerns that patients were unable to access the procedure. “This is due to current constraints around providing recovery beds to correlate with general anaesthesia and theatre availability. This has led to the Mater exploring a new methodology for cardioversion under conscious sedation rather than GA [general anaesthesia],” said the spokesperson.
Urgent patients had presented to the hospital’s emergency department requiring cardioversion and alternative avenues for treatment had been accessed for patients, according to the spokesperson. The hospital had organised procedures through Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan, utilised National Treatment Purchase Fund processes to secure cardioversions in the Mater Private Hospital and also accessed procedures through Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown. However, the above measures have not facilitated all patients. Some are now waiting up to six months for the procedure, which is considered urgent for people with AF. Some 16 patients have been waiting for up to three months, while 12 patients have been forced to wait between three and six months. “Immediate plans” are afoot to resolve the issue and re-instate the cardioversion programme as soon as possible, said the hospital spokesperson. A start date of the week beginning 9 November has been identified. Dublin GP Dr Conor McGrane told this newspaper he had three patients waiting to undergo the procedure. “AF leads to a near trebling in the risk of stroke and double the risk for MI [myocardial infarction] every year if it is not treated.”