The Lincolnshire Heart Centre team, which is based in the specialist centre adjoining Lincoln County Hospital, was one of the first in the country to use injectable devices to record heart rhythms and has been helping to set up similar services in countries as far away as Australia and New Zealand.
The heart loop recorders are implanted just under the skin of the chest and monitor the electrical activity of the heart. The results are then downloaded via a ‘hub’ in the patient’s own home that sends the information electronically to the heart centre for review.
Previously, similar devices required surgical implanting in a theatre type environment, but the new devices are 87% smaller and are implanted in a day case environment. This means less pain and discomfort for the patient and a lower risk of infection.
The centre, has fitted more than 1,000 of these injectable devices since 2013. The majority of which have been done by advanced clinical practitioners (ACPs), specialist nurses who have undergone extensive additional training.
The team has published its excellent results in various journals and shared at conferences around the world, including the British Journal of Cardiology, the European Society of Cardiology Congress and Heart Rhythm UK Congress.
After publishing its results, the centre was approached by hospitals throughout the UK and beyond asking for help in establishing similar services.
Alun Roebuck Consultant Nurse said: “After our article on fitting loop recorders out of the cath lab by non-doctors was published, we were approached by nurses and physiologists from both the UK and afar.
“Unfortunately, it was too far for our colleagues in New Zealand to visit so we shared all of our information and our experience electronically and gave them some moral support. Fantastically, New Zealand now has their own service up and running.”
The Lincolnshire Heart Centre has now joined forces with the North Shore Hospital in New Zealand so the teams can continue to share best practice and benchmark their results against each other.
Team members are also advising the National Centre for Health and Clinical Excellent (NICE), this is the Government’s health watchdog on the development of national guidelines. The team at Lincoln are sharing their experience on how this new technology could and should also be used in the care and management of patients who have suffered a stroke.