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The SCVC Blog

Cardiovascular care news and articles from our expert team

The Naked Heart

Posted on Tuesday March 5, 2024 in Health Screening

The Naked Heart is an educational project owned and operated by Dr Edward Leatham. It comprises a series of blog articles released each fortnight via SCVC, a Diagnostic and Treatment Centre. It takes place alongside Tiktok, Youtube and Instagram reels and stories all aimed to help educate both patients and healthcare professionals about cardiology related issues.

Why?

Following Cambridge Tripos and MA Cantab, I attended The London Hospital in Whitechapel to start a long climb into a medical career, stumbling out as a newly qualified doctor in 1986. In those early days, it involved one on three on call, where we learnt the art of ‘cat napping’, as junior doctors slept in on call rooms close the wards. We soon learnt about teamwork – since if you developed good relations with your ward nurses, followed a good ‘to do’ list and were seen to be ‘reliable’, you would get called less often overnight about minor issues!

10 years later, I was appointed as a Consultant Cardiologist in Guildford Surrey, with a day a week in a London Teaching Institution, then moving myself and my practice to no less than three different Teaching Hospitals before ending up attached to the Royal Brompton in Chelsea for the longest part of my NHS career.

One morning in 2012, I video captured a standard doodle diagram, often used for patients seen with benign ectopics.  I uploaded it to Youtube where it rapidly had thousands of views and comments and soon realised that there was a growing internet  interest for simple explanations.  The Naked Heart Project therefore began back in 2014, with a simple e-book on coronary artery calcification.   We had lost a much loved colleague a few years before, suddenly, in the cath lab, and without warning. I had became determined to find a technology that would serve us better, and subsequently  became one of the first cardiologists training to use new CT technology. It was soon very clear that it could be used to both diagnose critical disease and detect early coronary artery disease, the latter was evident and treatable years before symptoms develop, since the evidence for prevention strategies was already overwhelming.

In 2021, after 35 years serving the NHS and 25 years I stepped back from NHS employment (never ‘retired’),  resolved to tackle the failing health system by leading a new brand of diagnostic and treatment centre and  become a medical educator. I felt passionately that medicine had to change due to rising costs, complexity and manpower issues it faced. Doctors and influencers need to get patients to take charge of their own health. My job morphed from ‘fixing broken hearts’ to, quite literally, preventing them from getting broken in the first place.

Who is it for?

So who would be the target audience? Of course the main goal of the project was to empower patients with knowledge, tricks and tips to help people better look after themselves, but I was also struck by the impact of recent changes to cardiologist training curriculums, and the European time directive had had on the knowledge and experience of training (and if i’m being honest, recently appointed cardiologists).  I also recollected my own experience as a newly appointed, supposedly ‘fully trained’ interventional cardiologist back in 1996.  Even 10 years of training doesn’t prepare you for the job. You have to carry on learning, even if you are given a great title!  I therefore decided that the Naked Heart would be written for people from all backgrounds and experiences. I felt there would be some stories and tips that would be ‘news’ as well as thought provoking, even for some medical colleagues. After all, there are cases, ‘know how’ and key lessons that we sometimes all only experience once in a career, so it made sense to ‘bottle mine’ and share.

The Naked heart will therefore be aimed at three user groups, each with its own colour or brand code:

  1. Non medical – people with no or very little knowledge of medicine and how the heart works. These stories will feature on social media, with branding in pink.
  2. Professional– for medical professionals, nurses and allied healthcare professionals that form part of the wider team involved in providing modern healthcare. These stories will feature on social media in blue.
  3. Expert – for colleagues already experienced in general medicine and cardiology seeking answers to some of the difficult issues of the day. These stories will feature on social media, with an emphasis on red.

What will it be?

Naked Hearts main content will follow chapters aligned to the presentation and management of patients according to the various themes that present to a GP or cardiologist:

  • The patient presenting in AFib.
  • The patient presenting with a heart murmur
  • The patient presenting with a high Cholesterol
  • The patient presenting with palpitation
  • The patient presenting with breathlessness
  • The patient presenting to hospital with acute coronary syndrome
  • The patient presenting to hospital with a TIA or stroke
  • The patient presenting with high blood pressure
  • The patient presenting with ? heart failure
  • The patient presenting without symptoms but concerns regarding a terrible family history of heart disease

Within each theme there will be a standardised subchapter structure:

  1. About the condition
  2. How it presents
  3. Investigations
  4. Treatment
  5. Prognosis

When and How?

The Naked heart is a 5 year project. The final content will only be decided by readership and feedback from social media. Chapters themes and the related subchapters will appear as blog articles over the next 2 years, with snippets on social media as reels and stories on Instagram and Tiktok.

For patients, colleagues and people anywhere who wish to help shape it, and wish to be notified as content appears each week please follow me and if you want to be kept informed by email, use the link below to register yourself for email updates of new blog articles posted on the SCVC website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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