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Role Models: Inherited Cardiac Conditions

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Dr Victoria Pettemerides
Liverpool
Medical training itself is hard and a strong support network both inside and outside of work is incredibly important, so too is a passion for your chosen specialty.

I am a recently appointed Consultant Cardiologist at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital specialising in Inherited Cardiac Conditions, Sports Cardiology and Echocardiography. I completed my training and a post training Fellowship in the North West Deanery having initially obtained my number in the Peninsular deanery.

One of the joys of my job is the variety it brings. It allows me to be part of teams involved in many aspects of Cardiology including intervention and cardiothoracic surgery. The care of patients with suspected inherited heart conditions ranges from heart muscle conditions to electrical conduction problems and involves close working relationships with geneticists. ICC is predominantly an outpatient specialty with long term patients. It can be very challenging, especially when a diagnosis may be unclear, when understanding family relationships, or when providing a life limiting diagnosis. Yet, it can also be very rewarding particularly when facilitating a patients understanding of a condition and potentially allaying fears. Sports Cardiology is an expanding sub specialty and whilst this largely focuses on grey areas between inherited conditions and physiological adaptation it also includes applying the breadth of general Cardiology knowledge to athletic (recreational or professional) populations.

Although I had an interest in carrying out research during my training it didn’t come to fruition and I do not feel that this has been of any detriment to me in progressing in my career or being able to do my job well. Historically, there was a lot of emphasis on having needed to complete a higher degree in order to obtain a ‘good’ Consultant job. The landscape is definitely changing, and many centres are now a lot more open to the other skills and benefits that a colleague can bring which will complement their research culture. There is no doubt that medical specialty training can be made all the harder with the personal challenges that often occur during that time in our lives. There were certainly many highs and lows during my own training but I don’t think that is specific to Cardiology. Medical training itself is hard and a strong support network both inside and outside of work is incredibly important, so too is a passion for your chosen specialty. Hard work, passion, being open to support and having a focus on your goals will allow you to succeed in achieving your ambitions.

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