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Cardiac Services

A private, comprehensive and high quality service was set up in Christchurch in 2003 to meet the growing demand for high quality cardiac services (both within New Zealand and internationally).

A specialised and highly skilled team including doctors and other health professionals, has come together with the express purpose of developing and delivering the most advanced cardiothoracic services possible for patients.

St George's Hospital was chosen because of its accredited medical facility close to the city centre and its dedication to excellence with proven quality systems in place.

The Cardiac Surgery team includes anaesthetists, surgeons, perfusionists, anaesthetic technicians, nurses and the intensive care / cardiothoracic team.

Cardiothoracic surgeons, Mr David Shaw, Mr Harsh Singh and Mr Graham McCrystal, perform the surgical procedures. They are all highly respected surgeons with extensive international experience, each with their own distinguished accomplishments. They regularly perform surgery on beating hearts rather than the traditional method of stopping the heart while they do the surgery. This technique reduces complications and patients recover more quickly than would otherwise be the case.

Other areas of expertise include the surgical management of atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeats) and left ventricular reduction surgery for heart failure. The surgeons are accomplished in thoracic surgery, the surgical management of lung cancer as well as other diagnostic, therapeutic and thorascopic procedures. They also undertake surgery related to chest wall deformities.

St George's Hospital is recognised as a centre of excellence for cardiac surgery in Australasia.


Cardiology Day Unit


Cardiac Catheterisation

Cardiac catheterisation (often called coronary angiogram or a cardiac cath) is an x-ray procedure used to examine the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle. The purpose of the test is to obtain information about these arteries, determine if there are any narrowings or blockages, and to define the position and severity of any problems. In some cases heart valve function and the pumping action of the heart is also assessed.

Coronary Angioplasty

This purpose of this procedure is to open up narrowed / blocked arteries caused by the build up of fatty deposits.


Cardioversion is a procedure to restore normal heart rhythm. An electrical shock is delivered to the heart muscle under anaesthetic. If your heart is in an abnormal rhythm (atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter), it will pump less efficiently. Some people will be unaware of this, while others may feel a rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, fatigue, or have difficulty sleeping.

Usual length of stay

  • Angiograms is six hours from completion of procedure. Patients are required to stay within the Christchurch area overnight
  • Angioplasty is overnight with discharge mid-morning the following day or as per surgeon's instructions
  • Cardioversion approximately three hours

Remember patients are not permitted to drive a vehicle for 24 hours after their procedure.

What to bring

  • Your information folder
  • Your prior approval number for insurance
  • Insurance policy information
  • Any medication tablets, including herbal or complementary that you are currently taking
  • Relevant X–rays and CDs pertaining to your procedure
  • Glasses, hearing aids if applicable
  • Dressing gown and slippers 

Medication instructions

Unless otherwise instructed by your Doctor / Specialist, all routine medications should be continued pre-procedure. It should be taken at the usual time or before leaving home.

Your Doctor / Specialist should have given you instructions if you take diabetic medication or blood thinning medication. If not, please telephone them and get instructions.

Insurance and explanation of charges

Heart Centre @ St George's is an Affiliated Provider for Southern Cross Health Society.

The Contracts Office at St George's Hosptal will request your prior approval for the procedure and a letter will be sent to you from Southern Cross Health Society. If you have full cover the claim will be lodged directly with Southern Cross. If you have a shared cover policy you will receive an invoice from Heart Centre @ St George's for your portion and the remainder will be claimed directly from Southern Cross. You will receive a remittance from them stating what they have paid on your behalf. 

For all other health insurance providers and Southern Cross members having Cardio-Thoracic surgery, you will need to contact the insurer yourself for prior approval. Your Specialist will have a price guide indicating costs. Once you have received your invoice from Heart Centre @ St George's, send it to your insurer along with your claim form.

Patients without health insurance will need to settle their account within seven days of the date of the invoice, unless prior arrangements have been made.

Contact us

133 Leinster Road, Strowan
Christchurch 8014

P: 03 375 6193
F: 03 375 6008

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