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Tiny heart monitors bring big benefits to Worcestershire’s Cardiac patients

 

Cardiac patients in Worcestershire are benefiting from quicker appointments and reduced lengths of stay in hospital thanks to a procedure which can now be performed by a specialist arrhythmia nurse.

The procedure to insert an implantable loop recorder (ILR) was traditionally carried out by consultant cardiologists. However, devices are now much smaller and injectable.

This means that the procedure takes just a matter of minutes, offering patients a much quicker and less anxious experience whilst the extra capacity for consultants to perform more complex procedures.

ILRs, which are half the size of an AAA battery, record electrical signals in a patient’s heart which can then be downloaded by a specialist for analysis. When a patient experiences a symptom like a fainting episode or a palpation they can activate the ILR by a button or via the mobile phone app. Their heart rate and rhythm at the time of their symptoms, or any abnormality without symptoms, are transmitted to the hospital wirelessly.  This allows the cardiology team to review any cardiac issues quicker without the patient having to visit hospital again, resulting in a prompt and accurate diagnosis.

Nicki Brewster, Arrhythmia Specialist Nurse, who now performs the procedure said: “To have the option for specialist nurses to perform the ILR procedure is having such a positive impact on waiting times and patient experience. Technology has advanced so the patient is able to submit their information without attending the hospital. This can result in a prompt and accurate diagnosis”.

The recorders are implanted in the chest, just under the skin, using local anaesthetic.  The simple procedure takes only a few minutes and the incision measures less than 1cm.

Patient Paul Harper, 35 has been experiencing heart palpations and has recently had an ILR fitted to monitor this using the mobile phone app. Following the procedure Paul said: “I was really impressed with how convenient and pain free the procedure was. It was all done so quickly with hardly any waiting time, which is great as I will get my diagnosis quicker.”

 

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