What are your research interests?
- Cardiac function and development in preterm infants
- The patent ductus arteriosus
- Novel echocardiography techniques to measure cardiac function in newborn infants
Why did you get into research?
As clinicians, we are faced with many unsolved problems. During my training, my mentors showed me how research can change outcomes and I have been driven ever since to help promote and perform research to help continue medical progress in the field of neonatology.
What would be the ultimate goal for your research?
We hope that our efforts lead to a better understanding of how the heart works in sick newborn infants. Being able to detect problems before it is too late and provide alternative treatments could help improve outcomes in our very tiny babies.
Associate Professor Koert de Waal is a full-time neonatal clinician with long-standing interest in clinical research. His track record started in the Academic Centre of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and continued as post graduate fellowship in Sydney, in order to learn functional echocardiography in neonates with world leaders in the field. His PhD focused on functional echocardiography of the newborn with emphasis on heart-lung interactions, and was completed after his move to Newcastle.
Here he continued his work as clinician, mentor and researcher. He provides courses in neonatal ultrasound for local fellows, who help collect valuable data of cardiac function and development in newborn infants as part of their PhD. Associate Professor de Waal has been involved in several national multicentre studies on neonatal hemodynamics and brain function as site chief investigator.
He has published in numerous peer reviewed journals in his field and his work has led to several national and international speaking invitations. Improving understanding of newborn hemodynamics remains his main research goal.
With ever improving technology, it will be possible to view the heart of a newborn infant in full 4D and provide an instant snapshot of cardiac performance.
- Speckle tracking analysis
- Clinical trials in newborn infants
- John Hunter Children's Hospital
- ANZNN network
The heart is a complex structure designed to help pump blood efficiently around the body. While much is known about how the heart contracts and changes shape, limited attention has been paid to the properties of the blood flowing inside the cardiac chambers.
The left atrium (LA) is one of the four chambers of the heart. Its primary roles are to act as a holding chamber for blood returning from the lungs and to act as a pump to transport blood to the left ventricle of the heart, after which the blood flows to the body.
Preterm birth continues to be a major health problem throughout the world.