Revolutionary heart monitor used for the first time at GWH

Two patients from Swindon are the first in the country to be fitted with a new state-of-the-art device which monitors symptoms including unexplained fainting and heart palpitations.

The Wiltshire Cardiac Team at the Great Western Hospital used the cutting-edge technology for the first time this week, allowing both patients to leave hospital the same day, with their symptoms being safely monitored from home.

The tiny device called BIOMONITOR III, made in Germany by BIOTRONIK, replaces a larger, less advanced device and allows the patient to see their heart’s activity and record symptoms via an App on their smartphone.

The small flexible antenna is implanted under the skin of the patient’s chest using a simple non-invasive procedure and local anaesthetic. Patients can continue their life without any limitations, with the wireless device remaining comfortably in place for up to four years.

Enhanced sensing technology provides real-time monitoring of the patient’s heart rhythms, alerting the team to any unusual activity and providing them with the information they need to make a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Carol Buttle, from Middleleaze in Swindon, had the device implanted on Wednesday at the Great Western Hospital: “I experience strange sudden changes in my heart rate which can make me feel faint, weak and very tired. I’m hoping that the monitor will be able to show what’s happening and why.

“It’s good to have a record of what’s actually happening, rather than trying to remember. I’m also going to be using the App to record my symptoms at home and other things to note, for example if I’ve just had of cup of coffee.

“The procedure was so quick and there was only a slight discomfort. I left hospital that morning and you almost forget it’s there.

“It’s convenient not having to have a big strap on my arm and not having to go to multiple appointments. I also like the reassurance of knowing my heart is being constantly monitored, it takes a lot of anxiety away.

“The team explained everything really clearly and I feel quite lucky to have this.”

Matthew Swift, Cardiac Physiologist at the Great Western Hospital, implanted the first device: “We are really excited and think this new device will make a huge difference to patients’ lives.

“It means we can now see what’s going on with a patient’s heart remotely, so they don’t need to attend hospital so frequently.

“It has also reduced the procedure time and given us a clearer insight into what’s causing certain symptoms so we can start effective treatment sooner.

“The fact that patients can keep track of their activity from home is fantastic. It encourages patients to be more mindful of their symptoms and also record any symptoms they notice, so we can get a really clear picture of their overall health and wellbeing.”

The team estimate that up to 260 patients a year at the Great Western Hospital could benefit from the device.

More NHS Trusts across the country are expected to start using the device in the next year.