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10 minute heart procedure saves lives

13 August 2019

Health Care

A diagnostic heart procedure which takes less than ten minutes is helping to prevent heart attacks and strokes and allowing consultants at Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to treat more patients with complex conditions.

The fitting of a LinQ implantable loop recorder (ILR), is carried out by Physiologists at Southend Hospital's Cardiac Medical Day Stay Unit, a procedure which was previously done by consultant cardiologists in the Cardiology Catheterisation Laboratory (Cath Lab).

Physiologists have been fully trained by Dr Sajjad Mazhar to insert the implantable loop recorder (ILR) just below the skin of the chest in a quick and simple outpatient procedure under local anaesthetic.

ILRs provide continuous heart rhythm monitoring for three years when activated and will store up to 49.5 minutes of heart monitoring information or Electrocardiogram (ECG). If the device detects irregular rhythms or problems with the heart, it will send information remotely to the hospital and the patient will be invited for further checks.

By moving this procedure out of the lab, the implantable loop service has become much more efficient, allowing more patients to be treated as the procedure takes less time. It has so far saved Southend Hospital more than £150,000 which allows more consultant appointments to be made.

Nikki Baines General Manager and Principal Physiologist said:"The implantable loop recorder is useful for monitoring and checking whether the heart is going too fast or too slow. The beauty of these devices is that they can be implanted for three years and we've got more chances of picking up symptoms early and prevent serious health problems like a heart attack or stroke."

"It's a bit like having an MOT really. We basically treat as we find. Depending on what the loop detects, this could lead to a change in medication or having another device such as a pacemaker implanted. It might be that the heart is fine and whatever may be causing the symptoms may not be coming from that area. The procedure is quick and not too invasive. Once we are done, we give the patient a cup of tea and toast and half an hour later, they are ready to go home."

Patients are less anxious, as the physiologists demonstrate the benefits of the home-monitor and implantable loop device.

Nikki Baines said: "We are also the training centre for implantable loop recorders and have helped set up services across the country. We have been supporting our physiologists' colleagues at Mid Essex Hospital as they are in the process of starting a similar service".

NR45 (2019)


Notes to editors:

Photo caption: Rebekah Green, Ward Sister, Zoe Heath, Chief Physiologist, John Freed, patient, Nikki Baines, General Manager / Principle Physiologist and Josh Peck, Chief Physiologist.