World Heart Day with a Cardiac Scientist


As the world continues to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve never been more aware of the importance of our and our loved one’s health.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the world’s number one killer, resulting in 18.6 million deaths a year. For the 520 million people living with CVD, COVID-19 has been heartbreaking. They have been more at risk of developing severe forms of the virus. Many have been afraid to attend routine and emergency appointments, have become isolated from friends and family, and reduced their physical exercise due to ongoing lockdowns.

This year on World Heart Day, we’re using the heart to connect to make sure we all can live heart-healthy lives. We caught up with St Andrew’s Cardiac Scientist, Mitchell Buhmann to find out more about his job to help promote patient’s heart health.

What does a Cardiac Scientist do as part of St Andrew’s medical team?

A cardiac scientist is an allied health professional that often works within a multi-disciplinary team. We perform diagnostic and therapeutic cardiac procedures; usually 'non-invasively' through a small tube in the groin or the arm.

What do you love most about your job?

The opportunity to develop special skillsets to work in theatre settings, such as the catheterisation theatre at St Andrew's.

  • Haemodynamic data monitoring and review
    • I love using pressure waveforms captured from a catheter within the heart and other data to calculate many things; for example the aortic valve area.
  • ECG interpretation
    • I love looking at squiggly lines to decipher the heart rhythm or provide support to diagnose a condition.
  • Intra-cardiac mapping
    • I love looking at multiple squiggly lines from catheters placed inside the heart to map activation and identify short circuits that underpin arrhythmias (faults in the heart’s electrical system).
  • Cardiac implantable device support such as interrogation of a patient's pacemaker
    • I love trying to optimise a patient's pacemaker settings to afford them the best response to pacing.
  • Coronary artery measurements
    • I love assisting with the use of special equipment to measure flow in the arteries that supply the heart with blood or measure the internal diameter of an artery.

Overall, my favourite part of my job is helping to contribute towards positive outcomes for patients - this is extremely rewarding.

What makes working with the St Andrew’s team so special?

St Andrew's is a special place to work due to the great team. We are very lucky to have access to the latest technologies and therapies that can benefit patients.

How can people promote heart-healthy lives?

Promoting a 'heart healthy' lifestyle is underpinned by the notion that prevention is far better than cure - by looking after ourselves holistically, in terms of encouraging modifiable lifestyle factors, our heart will thank us and serve us well in return.

To find out more about World Heart Day, visit The World Heath Federation website.