Heart patients benefit from new microchip

09 July 2015 09:39

A relaxing holiday can be just the stress-busting tonic that heart patients need

A relaxing holiday can be just the stress-busting tonic that heart patients need

The need for heart failure sufferers to go to hospital has been substantially lowered - thanks to a trailblazing new chip.

A minute sensor in the microchip alerts physicians to any drastic alterations in the health of heart failure sufferers, before patients even know themselves.

Earlier US trials have found typical hospital admissions lowered by a typical 30% after half a year.

The first batch of seven UK patients have received the trial implant.

What it means is that doctors - even if they are thousands of miles away - can still advise patients on steps to stop their symptoms deteriorating.

Remote-control doctoring

This was certainly the case for Martin Cowie from Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust.

The London-based consultant cardiologist was able to contact and advise one of the patients with the device installed, despite attending a Brazilian conference at the time.

Prof Cowie told the patient to consume more water after seeing that they were dehydrated.

Holidays are kind to hearts

Few things are kinder on a person's heart than a relaxing holiday abroad.

But arranging these can be stressful before holidaymakers even take off, due to difficulties getting travel insurance that covers heart conditions.

But tourists can get peace of mind from medical travel insurance.

This insurance can cover them for heart problems, cancer and a host of other medical conditions.

Heatwave saviour

Prof Cowie said the new device has been valuable over the recent UK heatwave. This is because heart failure patients need to adjust their fluid intakes daily.

Chronic heart failure means that the heart fails to pump blood at correct pressures through the body.

How the device works

The tiny sensor is fitted via a narrow tube into patients' pulmonary artery, which takes blood to their lungs from their heart.

The device then allows doctors to remotely monitor any alterations in pulmonary artery blood pressure - usually a fair clue to deteriorating heart failure.

Patients have to lie on an adapted pillow for two minutes.

The pillow accepts wireless data from the microchip and links to a special monitor which conveys the results straight to the sufferer's doctor.

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