WORK­ING LIFE

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - Health -

Claire Howard, ar­rhyth­mia nurse, Mater Pri­vate Hos­pi­tal, Dublin 5.40am The alarm goes off and I’m up and out the door by 6am. I live in Meath and com­mute by bus, which drops me at the door of the Mater. It’s a 40-minute trip. 7am We have a mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary team meet­ing early Thurs­day morn­ings where we dis­cuss com­plex cases. We have five ar­rhyth­mia doc­tors, oth­er­wise known as con­sul­tant elec­tro­phys­i­ol­o­gists. Ar­rhyth­mia means an ir­reg­u­lar heart­beat. There are dif­fer­ent forms of ar­rhyth­mia, the most com­mon be­ing atrial fib­ril­la­tion. It causes the up­per cham­bers of the heart to con­tract ab­nor­mally. Symp­toms in­clude pal­pi­ta­tions, short­ness of breath, chest pain, dizzi­ness. 8.30am I re­view my emails and the in­pa­tient list to see who I need to check in on — gen­er­ally, it’s pa­tients who are pre or post pro­ce­dures such as car­diac ab­la­tion. This in­volves thread­ing a catheter from groin to the heart to cor­rect in­cor­rect elec­tric sig­nals that are caus­ing an ab­nor­mal heart­beat. Pa­tients can find the prospect daunt­ing, so a big part of my role is ed­u­cat­ing and sup­port­ing be­fore­hand and mak­ing them aware of how they should feel af­ter the pro­ce­dure.

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