How innovative heart care is impacting lives with Dr Razeen Gopal
Posted on 3 September 2019
Mediclinic Panorama is proud to offer specialist care to the communities around Cape Town, and often more further afield. In August, the hospital celebrated 25 years of service in the Cardiac Unit. While nurses and other supporting services are essential to the positive clinical outcomes being produced by the hospital, this Heart and Stroke Awareness month we look at the specialists delivering expertise within this field. One such specialist is cardiologist and electrophysiologist Dr Razeen Gopal.
Nearly ten years ago, Dr Gopal opened his practice in Cape Town. Having trained in both Belgium and the United Kingdom, his passion for internal medicine was clear – winning the gold medal from the department of internal medicine at Stellenbosch University Tygerberg Hospital campus.
This practice, Cape Town Atrial Fibrillation Centre (CTAFC) at Mediclinic Panorama, is internationally renowned and currently offers a number of treatment options for heart related issues, with core focus areas around atrial fibrillation, cryo-ablation and pacing devices, but also including the entire spectrum of rhythm disturbances.
According to Dr Gopal, atrial fibrillation is one of the most common heart rhythm disorders, and accounts for a large portion of his patient base. What is remarkable is that in Dr Gopal’s efforts to drive improved outcomes, he has become one of the largest single operators in terms of volumes and experiences in the entire emerging market region – this would include the Middle East, Africa and Turkey. He has also been one of the biggest supporters of single shot therapy for the management of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation in Southern Africa. In an effort to broaden the use of this technology, he has served as a proctor, both locally and abroad, in the teaching of cryo-ablation techniques. For those residing in the Western Cape, this means expert services are available within very easy reach.
“Over recent years huge strides have been made in the understanding and management of atrial fibrillation,” explains Dr Gopal, “including marked improvements in cardiac imaging as well as therapeutic tools such as cryo-balloon and radiofrequency contact force catheters. These advancements excite me, as I believe that we are capable of providing the very best clinical outcomes for our patients. The expertise and tools are available locally.”
Another strong area of interest is Dr Gopal’s work in ablation of ventricular tachycardia. Dr Gopal has a special interest in the ablation of ventricular arrhythmias and regularly hosts a number of internationally recognised colleagues in his laboratory.
The CTAFC has developed into the largest and busiest unit in the region with regards device implantation. Pacing techniques include His bundle pacing, leadless pacing, biventricular pacing, defibrillator implantations or combinations of these devices. Once again, Dr Gopal offers proctorship on implantation and programming of these devices.
“A huge proportion of my time is spent mentoring, proctoring and teaching. The CTAFC prides itself as being recognised as a centre of excellence and this is further cemented by the huge demand for our role in the dissipation of knowledge and skills in the cardiac rhythm management industry. This form of altruistic sharing is also most gratifying to me personally,” explains Dr Gopal.
In April this year, the latest pacing technology was introduced by Dr Gopal. This innovative technology now makes it possible for patients to undergo MRI (with the device implanted) more easily, with a more patient centric shape to the device and a considerably longer battery life – a serious and noticeable advancement for affected patients.
More recently, Dr Gopal was invited to be the first electrophysiologist to use the latest cryo-ablation technology within the emerging markets. Dr Gopal marked his 700th cryo-ablation procedure today 30 August 2019.
“Our Cardiac Unit celebrated 25 years of operation August 2019. We have 7 Cardiologists, 3 cardiothoracic surgeons, 3 pulmonologists, 1 endo-vascular surgeon and a number of specialised support staff. We are so proud of the work being done in this unit, and it is only through the expertise of doctors such as Dr Gopal, that our patients can leave the hospital in much improved health. We believe that Dr Gopal and the work being done is an asset to our community as a whole.”