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Associate Professor James Leitch

Research Program:
Research Topics:
Equipment Grant
2001 Equipment Grant

What are your research interests?

  • I am investigating the causes, progress and treatment of cardiac arrhythmias.
  • I also have a strong interest in optimal use of cardiac rhythm devices such as pacemakers, implantable defibrillators and event monitors.
  • I have a strong interest in the use of health resources in this expensive area of health delivery.

Why did you get into research? 

Cardiac arrhythmia is very unpredictable and sometimes has tragic outcomes in previously young and healthy individuals. Research in this field has the potential to make major differences to population and individual health.

What would be the ultimate goal for your research?

My goal is to make sure that every individual has optimal access to the best treatment available for cardiac arrhythmia at an affordable cost to the community.

Brief Profile

Dr James Leitch was brought up in the regional town of Armidale NSW and studied at Sydney University before beginning his residency and physician training at the Royal Newcastle Hospital. He is currently the Cardiology Director at John Hunter Hospital.

He was trained in cardiology at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and in cardiac electrophysiology (heart rhythm disorders) in London, Ontario. Since 1991, Dr Leitch has worked in Newcastle at the John Hunter Hospital with a clinical academic appointment at the Newcastle University. 

He has published over 150 peer reviewed articles and book chapters in the field of cardiac arrhythmia. He has also worked as a proctor for cardiac procedures in Myanmar, Vietnam, India and Taiwan and was involved in commencing the cardiac electrophysiologic program in Myanmar in 2004. Along with his colleagues, Dr Leitch has been instrumental in introducing cryoablation (ablation using cold temperatures) for the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias in Australia. 

Dr Leitch’s future focus is improving access to high cost and specialised treatments of cardiac arrhythmia in rural and regional areas.

Specialised/Technical Skills 

  • Advanced techniques for cardiac ablation
  • Linkages with international arrhythmia programs
  • evaluation of cardiac rhythm device implantation
  • Cryoablation


Non-contact cardiac mapping study.
Equipment Grant

Professor Peter Fletcher, Dr James Leitch