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What We Do

National University Heart Centre, Singapore (NUHCS)


National University Heart Centre, Singapore (NUHCS) brings together cardiac specialists and experts from a multitude of medical and surgical disciplines to provide a comprehensive and holistic approach to the treatment of heart problems. It is set up by the National University Health System (NUHS) to meet the growing need for expert care to look after the increasing number of people suffering from heart disease.


The establishment of the NUHCS – Singapore's second national heart centre, was announced in August 2007 by former Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan.


"Singaporeans now have access to another national heart centre, one where high quality personalized cardiac care is available and which draws upon the expertise of specialist who are also at the forefront of academic medicine, teaching and researching at NUHS"

- Associate Professor Benjamin Ong, former Chief Executive of the National University Health System (NUHS) and Director of Medical Services, Ministry of Health, Singapore


Headed by Director, Professor Tan Huay Cheem and Deputy Director, Professor Lee Chuen Neng , the NUHCS is made up of the following constituents:


  • Department of Cardiology

    Leaders of NUHCS. From left to right: Adj Associate Prof Michael
    George Caleb, Head, Department of CTVS, Prof A. Mark Richards,
    Director, CVRI, Prof Lee Chuen Neng, Deputy Director, NUHCS,
    Prof Tan Huay Cheem, Director, NUHCS, Ms. Chia Lay Hoon,
    Director, Nursing, Assoc Prof Yeo Tiong Cheng, Head, Department
    of Cardiology, Dr Daniel Tan, Assistant Chief Operating Officer, NUHCS

  • Department of Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery (CTVS)
  • Cardiovascular Research Institute (CVRI)
  • Division of Endovascular and Vascular Surgery
  • Division of Cardiovascular Nursing
  • Heart Clinic @ Level 1 and Heart Clinic @ Level 3 – consultations and various investigations of heart conditions are carried out.
  • Heart Rehabilitation
  • Angiography Centre – interventional cardiology procedures are carried out
  • Diagnostic Cardiac Laboratory – non-invasive procedures like Electrocardiogram are carried out.
  • Diagnostic Vascular Laboratory – non-invasive procedures like Vascular Doppler Ultrasonography are carried out.
  • Nuclear Cardiology Laboratory – non-invasive heart studies are performed using radioactive materials.
  • Ward 28  – Coronary Care Unit (CCU) and Cardiac Monitoring Unit
  • Ward 20  – Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit (CTICU)
  • Ward 64  – Cardiothoracic Ward
  • Ward 63  – Cardiology Ward
  • NUHCS Operations and Administration Department


Our highly-experienced physicians and surgeons also train and nurture the next generation of healthcare providers, passing on their knowledge and skills. At the NUHCS, patient care is backed by leading edge research conducted in conjunction with its research arm, the CVRI. The CVRI and the NUHCS engage in research to advance its cardiovascular care and treatments to stay at the forefront of the medical field.


With an aim to fulfil the tripartite mission, the majority of our clinicians take on multiple roles – serving as doctors and surgeons, also as researchers and as teachers in the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore (NUS). These have enabled us to keep in sync with the latest medical developments and advances, so as to bring new treatments and cures for the benefit of our patients.


Patient Care - Our Six Clinical Programmes

Heart Failure programme: A model for disease management programme

This programme was first implemented in 2002. Patients at NUHCS are cared for by a multidisciplinary team of heart failure physicians, case managers, advanced practice nurses, dietitians, medical social workers, pharmacists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. From only about 50 patients in 2002, the programme now caters to about 700 heart failure patients.


Spanning from inpatient to outpatient care, it serves as a model for other developing chronic disease management programmes and is in a process of continual expansion and improvement. As compared to international benchmarks such as the Centre for Medicare and Medicaid Services and United States Joint Commission International (JCI), treatment outcome indicators attained by NUH has been comparable:

  • Median length of hospitalization stay in NUH is 3 days compared to 9 days
  • Re-admission to NUH within 30 days of discharge is at 12.4% as compared with 22%
  • In-hospital mortality in NUH is 0.93% compared with 6.7%
  • 30-day mortality rate in NUH at 3.4% as compared with 11.1%
For more information, download the Heart Failure brochure HERE
Congenital and Structural Heart Disease programme: Span-of-life care

Congenital and structural heart disease (CHD) patients at NUHCS benefit from a continuum of care that spans a person's entire life. Under the care of a multidisciplinary team of specialists, parents with a history of congenital heart disease are offered pre-natal testing and genetic counseling, expectant mothers undergo ante-natal screening and imaging and newborns are screened for CHD.


NUHCS provides specialized care for patients with heart arrhythmia, heart failure and pulmonary hypertension. The Centre also carries out surgeries for congenital heart conditions and percutaneous procedures by implanting devices and sealing congenital defects without open heart surgery.


For more information, download the Pulmonary Hypertension brochure HERE.

Acute Coronary Syndrome programme: Timely help for heart attack patients

The NUHCS team has been working together with the nurses and specialists from the NUH Emergency Department and has reduced the time it takes to rush a patient suffering from a heart attack from the hospital doors to the procedural room for "ballooning". NUHCS's median 'door-to-balloon' time of 47 minutes is better than the international standards of less than 90 minutes, and 76% of NUHCS patients were treated within 90 minutes as compared to the 39% in the USA NRMI (National Registry of Myocardial Infarction) reports. 


For more information, download the Coronary Computered Tomography Angiography brochure HERE.

Vascular medicine and therapy: Saving limbs and prolonging life

The lack of awareness for atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) often leads to patients seeking late treatment for multi-level ailments that involve the brain, heart, kidney and lower leg arteries. This results in a higher incidence of lower limb amputation, diseases of the heart and blood vessels as well as death. The Vascular medicine and therapy programme brings together specialists from cardiovascular medicine, vascular surgery, radiology, neurology and nephrology to provide personalized care for patients.


One key component of the programme is limb preservation service. By introducing a personalized patient care plan comprising of cardiologists and vascular surgeons, NUHCS aims to reduce the rate for lower limb amputation. 


For more information, download the Vascular Access Surgery brochure HERE.

Women's Heart Health Programme: Fighting heart disease in women

Cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke) is the Number 1 killer of women in Singapore. However in 2009, less than 10% of the women taken part in the Singapore Heart Foundation’s Go Red for Women Heart Health Awareness Survey were aware of this important fact. Further, heart disease in women is not identical to that in men: some conditions affect women more than men (such as diastolic heart failure, apical ballooning syndrome or ‘broken heart syndrome’). Even with the same disease, presenting symptoms may be less obvious in women or the underlying mechanisms may be different, thus posing higher risks to women.


The NUHCS offers, for the first time in Singapore, a programme dedicated to women with and at risk of heart disease.


The aims of the Women's Heart Health Programme are three-fold:


  • Patient care: to provide a comfortable, “one-stop” environment for evaluation and management of their cardiovascular risk factors and conditions, where women can be seen by a female cardiologist and receive integrated care with a dietician, occupational therapist and psychologist.
  • Education: to raise awareness of the importance of heart disease in women and form a platform for women’s advocacy groups.
  • Research: to provide a potential database for research into cardiovascular disease in women, particularly in Asian women, where data are sorely lacking.


For more information, download the Women's Heart Health Clinic brochure HERE.

Heart Rhythm Programme: Arrhythmia Service

Inappropriately slow heart rhythms (bradycardia) and conduction blocks are increasingly common with an ageing population. Treatment may involve the implantation of a pacemaker which is a small electronic device that maintains the heart rate. Specialized (biventricular) pacemakers may also be indicated in the treatment of heart failure to “resynchronize” the heart leading to an improvement in heart function, reduction in heart failure hospitalization and improvement in survival.


Patients with poor heart function are at risk of sudden death which is usually due to a life-threatening heart rhythm disorder. The advent of the implantable cardioverter defibrillator has brought about a reduction of mortality in these patients. This device is implanted in a similar fashion as a pacemaker and is capable of detecting a dangerous heart rhythm when it occurs. More importantly, is able to deliver a “shock” to rescue the patient.


The Arrhythmia Service forms an important partnership with the Heart Failure Programme, where it co-manages these high-risk patients who often have arrhythmias and require cardiac devices. The NUHCS has extensive experience in these tertiary-level cardiovascular services and is a regional referral centre for arrhythmia and heart failure related disorders.


For more information, download the Cardiac Eletrophysiology Study (EPS) brochure and Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators brochure.




Reflecting parent organization National University Health System's focus on clinical care, education and research, the NUHCS will include a Cardiovascular Research Institute (CVRI). Heading the Cardiovascular Research Institute is Professor Arthur Mark Richards, who, amongst other positions that he holds, is a Professor of Cardiovascular Studies at the National Heart Foundation of New Zealand.


 A scientist conducting research at the
Cardiovascular Research Institute (CVRI) 

The CVRI in NUHS includes laboratory based research, clinical research, clinical trials, health services research, prevention and epidemiology research. NUHCS will be collaborating with international centres for multinational, miulticentre basic and clinical trials and we will also be involved in outcomes-related research, setting standards for evidence-based best medical practice in Singapore. New research initiatives, which will benefit Singaporeans, include development for a risk prediction model for heart attack using novel biochemical markers, novel hormones and genetic analysis. Other areas of research include collaborative stem cell and tissue engineering research, device innovations etc.




Find out more about our research works at our CVRI Website



The NUHCS will develop novel training programmes, programmes to engage medical undergraduates in education and research and programmes to link phD and advanced specialist training. The NUHCS also aims to remain the preferred training centre in Cardiology and Cardiothoracic Surgery for local and overseas trainees with its structured and comprehensive training curriculum, coupled with close mentoring and supervision.


Trainings of cardiology, cardiac surgery and vascular specialists are reviewed and all clinical training programme will incorporate formalized research training in bid to expand the pool of clinician-investigators and clinician-scientists by working closely with the Specialist Training Committee (STC)


Novel training programmes will be developed that could pave the way internationally for the training of cardiovascular specialists, such as exposure of cardiology trainees to cardiothoracic vascular surgery and vice versa. There will also be a special cardiovascular training programme to augment the knowledge of interested nurses who may wish to pursue a career in cardiovascular nursing.


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