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Feel the beat to prevent stroke

26 September 2018

Last week we were once again proud to support hearts4heart and the Stroke Foundation to raise  awareness of atrial fibrillation (AF) in our community during the Atrial Fibrillation Awareness Week (17 September to 23 September). Just because the Awareness Week has ended doesn’t mean community attention on AF should too.

AF is a particular type of irregular heartbeat. In a healthy heart, all four chambers beat at the same time, somewhere between 60 and 100 times per minute. If someone has an irregular heart, the left side of the heart (left atrium) beats rapidly and unpredictably and can beat irregularly at over 400 times per minute.

If left untreated or poorly managed, AF may lead to serious health complications, like stroke or heart disease. However fast and simple checks could help identify those at risk of stroke.

AF affects up to 460,000 Australians and causes around 36 percent of strokes. The condition costs the Australian economy at least $1.25 billion every year.

hearts4heart Chief Executive Officer Tanya Hall said Australians must act now to reduce their risk of stroke and heart disease caused by AF. Ms Hall said that AF was the most common type of abnormal heart rhythm but once detected, it can be managed.


hearts4heart Chief Executive Officer Tanya Hall

This year, hearts4heart and the Stroke Foundation urged people to attend a screening event in their local area or visit their own healthcare provider to get checked for AF. However checks for AF shouldn’t be restricted to just one week of the year – it’s important to pay attention to your health all year round.

According to the Stroke Foundation, while your risk of AF and stroke increases with age, anyone of any age may be impacted.

Currently, there is one stroke every nine minutes in Australia and by 2050 this number is expected in increase to one stroke every four minutes. Yet most strokes can be prevented.

More than 80 percent of strokes can be prevented by managing conditions – including AF – and living a healthy lifestyle.

Recognising the increasing incidence of AF in the community, Australia’s first guidelines for the diagnosis and management of adult patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) were released by the Heart Foundation and the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand (CSANZ) in August. For more on the Guidelines.


25 September 2018

Philippa Dennis, Medtronic NZ MITG Country Manager

Attended NZPSHA Seminar ( 20-21 September 2018),  NZ Private Surgical Hospital Association

Philippa Dennis

Tenure with Medtronic: 25+ years across ANZ

What motivates you to work in the ANZ Medtech industry?

The Medical Device arena has become a very complex and  challenging environment. Working in the Medtech industry,  provides an opportunity to work with teams that produce new and innovative technologies which provides life changing outcomes for the patient. When you see these results, it makes you feel very proud to be a part of that process.

Why did you attend the Event?

This is an ideal forum to catch up with the C Suite & Executives within the private hospitals in NZ.

What were your highlights in the Event?

I had an opportunity to present to the group as Medtronic was a Major sponsor of the event. The theme of the seminar was around “ Quality” and my presentation really highlighted Tenet 3 of our mission:

“to strive without reserve for the greatest possible reliability and quality in our products; to be the unsurpassed standard of comparison and to be recognised as a company of dedication, honesty, integrity, and service”.

Discussion was also around how this is a major artery running through all facets of the business.

By this time next year, what matter relating to healthcare would you like to see solved and/or part of public conversation?

A shift in thinking about how do we help the private hospital arena look to delivering efficiencies to the patient and assist in becoming easier to deal with.


21 September 2018

Mary Ball, Medtronic ANZ Sales Coordinator MITG – WA/SA/NT

Attending The Bloody Long Walk

Mary Ball-2741

Tenure with Medtronic:  11 years

What motivates you to work in the ANZ medtech industry? 

Being able to have a small connection with helping people.

Why are you attending the Event?

Personal challenge and to help raise money for a cause that is not very well known. Mitochondrial disease (mito) is a debilitating genetic disorder that robs the body’s cells of energy, causing multiple organ dysfunction or failure and potentially death. It is terminal; there is no cure and few effective treatments. One Australian child born each week will develop a severe or life-threatening form of mitochondrial disease.

What are you looking forward to most in the Event?

Sense of achievement and camaraderie with other people participating.

By this time next year, what matter relating to healthcare would you like to see solved and/or part of public conversation?

I would like all GP’s and Specialists to be aware/educated on the large range of products that are available and be able to give patients the best advice for the best outcomes.

National Stroke Week – The power of awareness

13 September 2018

The blog is contributed by Timothy Holwell, Therapy Development Manager, Neurovascular, ANZ and John Gillespie, Principal Health Economics & Reimbursement Analyst. Tim is the Chairperson and John is a member of the Medtronic ANZ Stroke Taskforce.

We are very proud to actively support this year’s National Stroke Week (3-9 September). Last week, we set up a Stroke Awareness Table in every Medtronic Hub across Australia. For everyone who visited the Awareness Table, we provided information on stroke management and helped them check blood pressure.

Photo: Staff visiting our Stroke Station in the office

Each year 56,000 people[i] in Australia suffer a stroke and it is one of our nation’s biggest killers and leading causes of disability. It’s estimated that more than 80% of strokes can be prevented simply by managing risk factors and living a healthy lifestyle[ii]. To support the Stroke National Week, we encourage everyone to discover how easy it is to fit healthy habits into their day to reduce their stroke risk.

The power of awareness – Charlie’s story

Charlie, our Sydney HQ café manager shared his story about the importance of raising awareness and acting on the information received. A couple of years ago during National Stroke Week, Charlie had his blood pressure measured at the Awareness Table set up in our Sydney HQ and found his blood pressure was a bit high, so he saw his doctor and learnt that he has atrial fibrillation (AF) –  an irregular, rapid heart rate and a risk factor for stroke. Charlie is now aware and managing his condition. This is exactly what Stroke Week and our Stroke Awareness Table are all about – prompting action to prevent stroke. It is also a great illustration of what a simple table with a few bits of information can do – keep someone healthy!


Photo: Charlie, café manager

A special note of thanks to Charlie for sharing his story with us, and our community.

Visit to learn more about stroke. Recognise the signs of stroke:


[i] Deloitte Access Economics. No postcode untouched – Stroke in Australia 2017
[ii] O’Donnell et al. “Global and regional effects of potentially modifiable risk factors associated with acute stroke in 32 countries (INTERSTROKE): a case-control study”, Lancet 2016; 388: 761–75. Published Online July 15, 2016,




12 September 2018

Hayden Young, Medtronic ANZ Diabetes Project Coordinator

Attending Blackmores Bridge Run| Insulin for Life Team on 16 September


Tenure with Medtronic: 2.5 years

What motivates you to work in the ANZ medtech industry?

I think my story is similar to many working in the medtech industry. We have seen someone we love impacted by lifesaving medical devices and wanted to be a part of making a difference in other people’s lives.

Why are you attending the Running Event?

Insulin for Life is a charity that I am passionate about. Here in Australia, we are so lucky to have much of our healthcare provided under some form of cover or rebate. Unfortunately, those living in some other countries are not so fortunate. Insulin for Life takes unused insulin and other diabetes supplies, and ships them to developing countries. They are then distributed, free of charge to those who require them. Through Insulin for Life, these supplies that would have once gone to waste are instead used to save thousands of lives. I think that’s a cause to get behind!

Just $250 is enough to ship three months of insulin to a hospital that desperately needs it.

What are you looking forward to most in the Running Event?

Getting together with a group of people who are working toward the same goal. It’s good to be able to help raise funds for a charity, but great to do it with others.

By this time next year, what matter relating to healthcare would you like to see solved and/or part of public conversation?

There is an urgent and growing need to promote the issues surrounding diabetes, a now out of control pandemic. This involves an increased understanding and a discussion on the economic, and societal seriousness of diabetes and its complications, and of the escalating costs to individuals, families, workplaces, society and governments. Improvements can be made by introducing sustainable, nationally consistent programs to prevent, detect and manage diabetes in Australia. As of now, there have been many plans and strategies designed but not properly implemented or evaluated.

Kids in the House: Research holds the key

5 September 2018

As part of our commitment to support the local community in improving diabetes management, we were very proud to be Major Sponsors of this year’s Kids in the House, an event hosted by JDRF, the leading global organisation funding Type 1 diabetes research.

On Thursday 23 August, over 100 young advocates from across the Nation living with Type 1 diabetes visited Canberra to meet with their MP. They shared their story of life with Type 1 diabetes, explained why research holds the key, and made a personal plea for continued Government funding for type 1 diabetes clinical research.

Diabetes occurs when the body stops producing insulin altogether, because the insulin producing cells in the pancreas are destroyed or don’t work. This usually happens when the body’s own immune system attacks and destroys the insulin producing cells of the pancreas. People with Type 1 diabetes must take daily insulin injections, or use an insulin pump to survive. Type 1 diabetes is usually first diagnosed in children and young adults, although it may be diagnosed into adulthood.


Emma (16) shows Senator Deb O’Neill from NSW how insulin pump therapy is improving management of her diabetes.


A key message from JDRF is that without continued funding,  Australians with Type 1 diabetes will miss out on first-class treatments and therapies; and, leading researchers may need to go overseas to continue their research. Therefore, as part of the advocacy program, they are asking both sides of politics to support $50M over the next five years to continue the work of the JDRF’s Type 1 Diabetes Clinical Research Network (CRN).


Medtronic Diabetes team also accompanied Kids in the House in Canberra on 23 August 2018.


JDRF believes that $50M over five years will see more research, more trials, more translation, and then more progress, into type 1 diabetes.

The CRN funds trials of new diabetes technologies including the recently approved MiniMed 670G insulin pump. These trials are run by some of the most talented Endocrinologists and researchers we have in Australia and are critical for us to build belief in the path to the Closed Loop.

We are very proud to be a supporter of many community, patient support and medical research organisations like JDRF and will continue to promote patient choice and access to the latest advances in diabetes management technology.


28 August 2018

Doug Symonds, Medtronic Australasia | Healthcare Economics & Reimbursement | PHI Relations

Presenting at the Australasian Diabetes in Pregnancy Society (ADIPS) 2018 annual scientific meeting

ADIPS - RFphoto-02

The Australasian Diabetes in Pregnancy Society (ADIPS) held their annual scientific meeting over the weekend in Adelaide.

It was very excited to be at this meeting to present our cost analysis on the impact of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) on perinatal costs and outcomes in pregnant women with type 1 diabetes.

This analysis looks at how the clinical outcomes reported in the CONCEPTT trial (Feig 2017) translate into health economic outcomes for the Australian healthcare system – and was conducted to inform decisions about expanding funding for CGM.

We hope the presentation generates lots of discussion and, most importantly, action to expand subsidised access to CGM to include the high-risk population of pregnant women with type 1 diabetes.

Link to ADIPS program –

Link to oral presentation abstract –