The cardiac unit is based at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital (IALCH). This unit serves not only the eThekwini functional region but all the hospitals, practitioners, and specialists in the province of KwaZulu-Natal and parts of the Eastern Cape. The population served exceeds 10 million.
Cardiac clinics are held on twice a week. An additional clinic is held for pacemaker follow-up patients. Approximately 10 new patients are booked into the clinic daily and are seen by a consultant cardiologist. Between 70 and 100 patients a day are seen at the follow-up clinic by medical officers and part-time specialists. For non-urgent cases there is a waiting list for outpatient referral.
Urgent cases and emergency cases are seen or admitted on the basis of telephonic consultations. The following categories of emergencies are usually admitted to the cardiology wards: complications of acute myocardial infarction; complicated cases of infective endocarditis; patients with unstable angina pectoris; patients with severe life-threatening arrhythmias; patients with life-threatening valvular problems; patients with life-threatening heart valve problems; patients with dissecting aneurysms. The coronary care unit at Addington and R K Khan Hospitals refer emergencies almost on a daily basis, and other emergencies from King Edward VIII hospital are also seen.
The vision of the department is:
The very nature of the acute presentation of cardiac illnesses necessitates earlier disease detection in order to prevent poor long term outcomes. The department espouses the principle that multiskilling of staff can effectively be used to provide service delivery in areas where there would otherwise be none.
It is the express mission of the department to increase knowledge in cardiology through a coordinated approach of CPD education, staff training and deployment, at all levels of skills development. Only in this way will it be possible to detect patients at an earlier stage in their illness and provide an effective consultative service.