Patients at risk of heart failure now have a doctor looking over their shoulder – even when they’re asleep.
That’s because hundreds of Calderdale and Huddersfield patients with heart conditions now have automatic heart rhythm detector implants to alert hospital teams.
And one Huddersfield patient has thanked doctors after the implant revealed his heart had stopped in the night the very first time it was used.
Philip Bowden, of Fixby, had suffered a series of about eight random unexplained blackouts, one of which happened when he was crossing a road.
A series of blood tests and ECGs had failed to detect any abnormality and the 61-year-old was twice rushed to A&E via ambulance.
The cardiology team fitted a device into his chest which monitors heart beat and the very first time he was connected up an alert was triggered.
Within an hour of it transmitting the information from home via telephone link, doctors had rung to tell him his heart had stopped while he was asleep.
They discovered an intermittent beat was the reason for the blackouts and within two weeks a pacemaker had been fitted.
He is now fit and well again with no risk of blackouts.
Mr Bowden, a retired college lecturer who sings with Honley Male Voice Choir, said: “The team was wonderful. A top drawer team. I feel so much better now.
“Three different consultants and the nurses looked after me and they were all superb.”
Now his condition has been diagnosed he has been given his driving licence back and can also get holiday insurance – both of which had been suspended.
His wife Noelle said: “I feel very, very grateful to the cardiology team. Philip is mended and I am astonished at the technology.”
Heart doctors are using two different wireless implants to track conditions.
The devices monitor the heart rhythms – even when the patient is asleep – and if anything wrong or abnormal is detected it sends an alert via wireless internet to a central base at Calderdale Royal Hospital which alerts the heart team.
The first is an implantable loop recorder which enables patients to run their own ECG (electrocardiogram) when they have symptoms.
The second is an implanted cardiac defibrillator which automatically detects abnormal life threatening heart rhythms and delivers therapies to stop them.
They can then check with the patients and provide the appropriate care.
Cardiology clinical services manager Chris Monaco said: “These devices are brilliant for our patients.
“They know we are monitoring their heart day and night and they also know if anything shows up which is irregular we get an alert and can call them in and act upon it.
“It means an end to all the repeated visits for outpatient check-ups in hospital and provides round the clock reassurance for our patients.”
The team also holds virtual clinics for check-ups during which the cardiac physiologists review the patients transmissions from these devices online. Patients are given a time when this will happen and receive a phone call from the team, rather than them having to travel for an appointment at hospital.
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