Dr. Robert Labralestier completed medical school at the University of Sydney and subsequently sought a career in surgery completing his cardiothoracic surgical training in 1990. Following post-graduate fellowships at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston USA he returned to consultant practice in Australia. His fellowships were focused on advanced techniques in mitral valve and aortic valve surgery, transplantation, mechanical circulatory support, and paediatric cardiac surgery.
Dr Larbalestier has been in consultant cardiothoracic surgical practice for almost 30 years and has extensive experience in all areas of adult cardiothoracic surgical practice. He is currently medically registered through AHPRA and holds appropriate specialist qualifications with the Royal Australian College of Surgeons. He is an Adjunct Professor Murdoch University and Clinical Senior Lecturer at the University of Western Australia and has actively participated in teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels throughout my career. He has mentored numerous medical students, surgical trainees and overseas fellows.
Dr. Larbalestier established the Western Australian Heart and Lung Transplant Program and Mechanical Support Services and has fostered through that program the development of a clinical and research program of international excellence. Over 200 peer-reviewed publications and numerous podium presentations have been generated by the work of this team. Over 2 million dollars of grants and support in research have funded this work. Their clinical results in the areas of transplantation and mechanical support are excellent and have led to their involvement in leadership roles in international trials.
Dr. Larbalestier has negotiated successfully with state health to facilitate the funding and implementation of cutting-edge programs and technologies in his unit. He has been actively engaged with local and state health authorities in the development of hospital and state-level programs and organizational policy. He has held leadership positions at hospital and state levels as part of these processes.
Dr. Larbalestier co-established the High-Risk Aortic Stenosis Service (HRASS) of WA with Dr. Gerald Yung, Interventional Cardiologist, and this has been a service of excellence regularly reviewed by the WA State Technology Advisory Committee and has delivered world-class results.
He is strongly committed to the delivery of high-quality health care to his patients, excellence in training to the staff under his supervision and development of a cohesive and passionate team that continues at the forefront of his specialty.
Robert has achieved recognition for his work in transplantation, mechanical support, mitral valve surgery, aortic valve surgery and complex aortic surgery. He regularly contributes to seminars in these areas.
He is strongly committed to teaching, research, and mentoring of students and trainees.
The development of the new cardiothoracic unit at Fiona Stanley Hospital has presented opportunities and challenges that Robert has relished. They have delivered quality results in transplantation and cardiothoracic surgery. They have started the WA Heart Lung Research Institute (www.hiri.org.au) to foster research and have received grants to support this.
In 2019 Dr Larbalestier was awarded the Officer of the Order of Australia, AO, for his contributions to Cardiothoracic Surgery and Professional Societies throughout his career.
Victor Chang Memorial Lecture
Victor Chang was appointed cardiothoracic surgeon at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney in 1972 and worked with the late Harry Windsor and Mark Shanahan in building the reputation of the cardiothoracic surgical unit. He was instrumental in establishing the National Heart Transplant Program in February 1984. Victor travelled and lectured throughout South East Asia and was also working on the development of an artificial heart. He was tragically killed on 4 July 1991.