Interventional cardiology elective, St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London, UK

For my elective, I had the lovely opportunity to join the interventional cardiology team at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. This was through the University of London.

I was able to divide my time between a number of subspecialties, including electrophysiology, congenital cardiac diseases and cardiomyopathy.

Being the largest heart centre in the UK, St Bartholomew’s offered numerous opportunities to engage with leading cardiologists and researchers and learn from their expertise and experiences.

A typical day began with handover at 8 am, followed by ward round. Often, we were joined by local medical students who were always friendly and welcoming.

I enjoyed being treated as a colleague and my presence was always acknowledged.

Depending on which particular consultant was in charge, these ward rounds became valuable learning experiences in which we were able to revise skills such as ECG interpretation and drug charting.

The schedule for the remainder of the day is largely self-determined with the possibility to join a clinic of your choosing, watch a PCI or see patients on the wards among others. It is possible to tailor your elective experience based on your personal interests. 

The highlight of my placement was watching the work up of a patient in cardiac arrest, something I hadn’t witnessed before.

I was amazed at how seamlessly the medical team came together to provide the patient with the best possible outcome.

I was able to see the same patient transferred from the resuscitation room to the cath lab where he experienced two episodes of ventricular fibrillation, and then finally to the ICU for further care.

Everybody involved, from the paramedics and nursing staff to the interventional cardiologists and ICU specialists, had a clear understanding of their role and were able to communicate effectively and maintain focus despite the urgency of the situation. 

Alongside clinical experience, there are multiple educational opportunities. Grand rounds took place fortnightly and were highly informative.

We were also encouraged to attend formal teaching with the University of London medical students and participate in all other hospital run sessions, including those from disciplines outside of cardiology.

Moreover, the junior doctors and registrars were all generous with their time and happy to teach and guide wherever possible.

In addition to the valuable clinical experience, this placement allowed me to explore one of the world’s largest cities.

With such a high concentration of galleries, museums and theatres, London never fails to entertain.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time away and would happily recommend St Bartholomew’s to any prospective elective student interested in cardiology.