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Frequently Asked Questions:

What is a Cardiothoracic Surgeon?

Cardiothoracic Surgeons are surgeons that have specialised in surgery of the chest, primarily the Heart and Lungs. Some surgeons focus on Cardiac (Heart) surgery while others have more of a focus on Thoracic (Lung) surgery. You will often be seen by other specialists prior to referral to a Cardiothoracic Surgeon.

What are your office hours?

9AM – 5PM. Monday to Thursday, except public holidays. Please see our Facebook page for specific updates. www.facebook.com/AssocProfAndrewNewcomb

Is there a charge for my visit?

Yes. The charge varies according to the time taken for your consultation and whether this is a first appointment or a subsequent review.

What if I cancel my appointment?

An administrative fee may be charged if notification of non-attendance is not received within 24 hours of your appointment. This fee cannot be claimed through Medicare.

Can I park nearby for my appointment?

Yes. All locations have parking nearby. Please see www.melbourneheartsurgeon.com.au/contact-us/ for details

Why would I need a dental checkup before heart valve surgery?

There is a small risk when having deep dental work such as tooth extractions, deep fillings or root canal work, that bacteria from the tooth and gum could get into the bloodstream. If this occurs then the bacteria can lodge themselves onto anything in the blood, especially artificial devices such as artificial heart valves, or pacemakers/defibrillators. They can also lodge on areas where the blood doesn’t run smoothly such as a diseased heart valve or hole in the heart. This is called endocarditis.

Any time that you go to a dentist and have the above conditions, you should tell the dentist as his will require you to have antibiotics prior to any extractions, etc.

Endocarditis can lead to destruction of heart valves and the surrounding heart tissue. This may lead to a prolonged period of time in hospital, as well as major heart surgery. This condition can also lead to death if your body is not strong enough to deal with it.

Are my medical records kept private and confidential?

Your medical file is handled with the utmost respect for your privacy. Our staff are bound by strict confidentiality requirements as a condition of employment regarding your medical records.

Ordinarily we will not release the contents of your medical file without your consent.

Do I need a referral to make an appointment?

Most medical specialists will accept only referred patients. This is partly to try to ensure that the specialist you are seeing is appropriate for you and your condition, and also because Medicare pays higher rebates to you for specialist services if you have been referred. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have a valid and current referral.

How can my family doctor help me to obtain specialist medical care?

Before seeing any medical specialist, it is always preferable to talk to your own family doctor, who can discuss your condition with you and advise on whether any specialist care is appropriate. If it is, he or she can help you to choose the specialist best suited to your needs. Your family doctor can help the specialist to care for you better by providing relevant information about your health. Communicating with the specialist will also enable your family doctor to care for you better during and after your specialist treatment.