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About

Nigel Stephens was head hunted from Cambridge University, where he was Lecturer in Medicine, to lead a newly built Cardiac Centre in Northwick Park Hospital more than 20 years ago. This service became successful, high performing and has had excellent outcomes. He brings these qualities to his private practice and provides accessible, personalized care for people with heart disease. He is particularly committed to helping people return to a fully active life and to enjoy the benefits of physical activity and exercise – even after episodes of serious ill health.

Biography

I strongly believe that medical care is a contract and joint enterprise between the person receiving care and the doctor giving it. The role of the consultant is to provide information in a comprehensible way that is understood by the intelligent lay person. Alternatives should be presented but a clear way forward and plan of care agreed. Private practice offers the opportunity to form a therapeutic relationship between the person and the doctor whom they know, and in people with chronic conditions (as many heart diseases are) this relationship is long-term. I very much with to empower patients in their own care and help them to be an agent of their care by helping them to understand their condition and the technology and pharmacology that is available to treat it.

I provide outpatient services mainly based at the Clementine Churchill Hospital and also The Trust Plus, Private Patients Facility at Northwick Park Hospital. I would wish to give everyone sufficient time to explain their symptoms and their concerns, and allow us to agree a plan of care in an unhurried and unstressed conversation. Coronary angiography, angioplasty and other invasive procedures are performed via the Northwick Park Private Patients Facility, Trust Plus. The procedures themselves are carried out in our two cardiac catheter labs, where there is an experienced nursing, technical and radiographic team who have worked with me over the last 20 years to provide what we judge to be a high-quality service. We would typically perform 1,500 diagnostic angiograms, 550 coronary angioplasties and more than 200 pacing procedures through our facility. We have a rich culture of audit and reflective practice and meet on a quarterly basis as a team to reflect on our activity and outcomes, and particularly reflect on adverse events and how we might learn from these and prevent them from occurring again.

Sports cardiology is a particular interest of mine because of a continuing personal involvement in competitive sport in track cycling. I welcome the opportunity to meet sportsmen and women who are concerned that they may have heart disease or know that they have heart disease, in order to advise them from a sportsman’s as well as a physician’s perspective about the safety of them continuing to enjoy training and competition, and what limitations (if any) should be imposed. I see many patients as second or third opinion where they have previously been advised to adopt a sedentary life and give up on their sport. In many cases we can modify this advice and allow them to continue to do what they love to do.

Private Care

I provide all aspects of cardiology care for patients over the age of 16. This includes valvular heart disease, hypertension, cardiomyopathy, heart failure, heart rhythm abnormalities and interventional cardiology (coronary angioplasty and stents). I have an excellent relationship with a group of colleagues centred in a Multi-Disciplinary Team meeting in Northwick Park Hospital, where onward referral for specialist cardiac surgery, electrophysiology and treatment of grown up congenital heart disease is considered in a weekly meeting, chaired by myself. I provide all aspects of care in complex interventional cardiology including use of intracoronary ultrasound rotational atherectomy and mitral balloon valvuloplasty.

Sports Cardiology

I gained considerable experience in the issues around heart disease in athletes by establishing a sports cardiology service with my colleague, Professor Greg White, based in the Olympic Medical Institute. Over 10 years, we saw more than 1,000 athletes referred with cardiac issues. I have a particular interest in the interpretation of apparently abnormal findings in athlete’s hearts, along with assessment of the safety to continue to play in competitive sports in athletes with established heart disease. A growing and complex issue is the coincidence of the common cardiac diseases of later life with the continuing wish to play competitive sports. I have cared for patients who continue to play sport following heart attack, angioplasty, treated hypertension, mild heart failure and heart rhythm disorders. I have a particular affinity for this patient group, as I continue to enjoy a high level of competitive sport in track cycling and have competed successfully as international with World Championship silver and bronze medals, and a European Championship gold medal in masters track cycling.

NHS Care

I am the Deputy Medical Director and Clinical Director of Medicine at London North West Universities Hospital NHS Trust. I am the Senior Cardiologist in our team of 10 and have particular responsibility for complex procedures in our Cardiac Catheter Lab and chairing our Multi-Disciplinary Team meeting where we consider complex cases, particularly patients destined for cardiac surgery. As a medical leader, I am responsible for 100 consultants and a budget of approx. £200, 000,000 providing medical care for a population of 750,000. I sit as a member of our hospitals Executive Team with particular responsibility for strategic development of medical services along with financial planning and integration of hospital and community services.

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