Mobile Hero Image

News and Events


Advance Care Planning Workshop 

St Vincent's Hospital - 41 Victoria Parade, Fitzroy, Healy Wing Level 3 Clinical Education & Simulation Centre Conference Room

Multiple dates: Friday 7 April, Friday 7 July, Monday 28 August, Friday 6 October, Monday 4 December

Time: 8:30am – 4:30pm

This one day workshop covers what Advance Care Planning is, the current legal framework, communication skills, cultural considerations and the St Vincent’s bestCARE model. The workshop is open to all healthcare professionals. It is free and equips you with the knowledge and skills to participate in Advance Care Planning.


To register, please click on the link and select your workshop date (NB: Enter 000000 under SVHM ID)

For further information contact Caroline Scott on phone: 9231 2847 or email:


Health Alert: Mycobacterium chimaera - February 2017

In the coming month, hospitals throughout Victoria will be writing to patients regarding a potential exposure to a bacterium called Mycobacterium chimaera (M. chimaera) from heater-cooler units used during cardiac bypass procedures. The risk of acquiring M. chimaera is very low. Approximately 100 patients have been diagnosed with this infection worldwide and only three in Australia. No cases have been reported from Victoria. St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne is providing patients with a number to call for further information but they may possibly want to discuss this issue with you as their General Practitioner.

Further information provided below or call the advice line if you require patient-specific advice on Tel: 9231 5096



  • There is a risk that certain heater-cooler devices used in cardiac surgery have been contaminated with an uncommon bacterium called Mycobacterium chimaera (or M. chimaera). 

  • The risk of infection with M. chimaera for each individual patient is very low. Approximately 100 patients have been diagnosed with this infection worldwide and only three in Australia. No cases have been reported from Victoria.


When to consider the possibility of M. chimaera infection:

  • Patients who have had a prosthetic implant (such as heart valve replacements or aortic root replacement) and cardiac bypass in the last 5 years


  • Have unexplained (ie- standard culture negative) surgical site infections, endocarditis, prosthetic valve infection, para-valvular abscess, graft infection or myocarditis.  Fever, shortness or breath and weight loss are common albeit very non-specific symptoms of M. chimaera infection.


How can patients suspected to have M. chimaera infection be investigated?

  • There is no indication for testing asymptomatic patients, as there is no screening test or serological assay that can determine if a patient has been exposed.

  • If you suspect your patient may have a M. chimaera infection please call the St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne advice line on phone: 9231 5096.


How is M.chimaera treated?

  • M. chimaera infection is treated with antibiotics similar to those used for Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB). An Infectious Diseases Physician can prescribe and manage this treatment.


What is St Vincent’s Hospital doing to minimise risk to patients

  • We have tested all the Heater-Cooler Units used at St Vincent’s Hospital. Like many other hospitals, we have had a device test positive for M. chimaera. This device was used on a limited number of patients and was immediately decommissioned.

  • Our other Heater-Cooler units used at St Vincent’s are not of the type implicated in this factory contamination (ie- not the LivaNova 3T) but we are proceeding with a schedule of routine testing for M. chimaera contamination and preventative disinfection.

  • We are writing to involved patients to let them know about this issue and the potential symptoms of M. chimaera infection as treatment is available should patients develop an infection.


Where you can go for further information

  • St Vincent’s Hospital M. chimaera advice hotline on phone: 9231 5096


National Health Services Directory:

Please ensure your practice details are up-to-date in the National Health Services Directory so that correspondence about your patient's care can be sent from the hospital.

To update your details in NHSD please Phone: (02) 9263 9092 or Email:


Secure Messaging:

Are you receiving outpatient letters via secure messaging from St Vincent’s?

You too can save time and receive secure messages by following these instructions.


Please Note: You do not need to set this up if you already receive secure messages via Argus from The Royal Children’s Hospital, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Northern Health or Monash Health.


This is a free service provided by OzeScribe - powered by Argus


Download the latest version of the newsletter:

August 2016

November 2016

February 2017



Subscribe to the GP Newsletter