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Mildura driving career ambitions

Associate Professor Andrew Ajani is an interventional cardiologist at Melbourne Private Hospital with an honorary appointment at Royal Melbourne Hospital. He has been visiting Mildura for the past 20 years providing specialist services to patients of this “terrific rural town full of opportunity.” Associate Professor Ajani finds the people in Mildura to be very welcoming of specialist care services which support up to 100,000 people.

Dr Ajani travels to Mildura every two weeks and provides consultative services and depending on the needs of the patients he refers them for various tests.  Most of the baseline cardiac testing is carried out in Mildura, but if patients require coronary angiograms or coronary angioplasty, then they travel to either Melbourne or Adelaide.  The bulk of his cardiology work involves procedures of imaging and treating coronary arteries.

The primary health need of the local community in the cardiac space is the “diagnosis of both acute and chronic cardiac conditions.”  The most significant aspect is preventative care with risk factor modification, mainly smoking cessation and weight reduction.  The challenges of working in this setting are the remoteness from the major metropolitan hospitals.  He also found that “while it is gratifying to treat the local Indigenous population, there are challenges still present such as  long-term follow-up.”

Associate Professor Ajani has worked with RWAV’s VicOutreach program since its inception.  He said his “experience working with RWAV has been excellent and has provided funding for transport and accommodation.” The program facilitates local communities to access specialist cardiology consultations. “ RWAV services have helped to achieve better health outcomes for the local community and advances such as telemedicine have been terrific.” 

This specialist cardiologist said it was an “exciting time in Mildura cardiology” as they now can perform stress echocardiography, CT coronary angiogram, and respiratory function tests.  Associate Professor Ajani plans “to continue a long career in cardiology while supporting the people of Mildura” which he said is one of the “key drivers of my ambitions.”

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