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A text message that could save your life; Revolutionary new treatment on trial in Liverpool.

Byline: Mark Hookham

ambulance to the patient if their condition deteriorates.

Dr Derek Connelly, who is leading the trial in Liverpool, said: ``It is important that we make this implant acceptable to patients and the new ICD helps with this.

``Of course it will be a double edged sword. Some patients will pick up the phone every time they think their heart beat has changed, but some patients will be a lot less anxious about their condition.''

The ICD box is the length of a credit card and 1cm thick. It is implanted under the patient's collar bone and wires are thread through a vein into the heart.

The device costs between pounds 12,000 and pounds 15,000 and is used along side medication to control fluid in the heart and the heart rate.

The Cardiothoracic Centre is implanting around five of the current ICD boxes a week and hope to implant between five and 10 of the new home monitoring ICDs over the next six months.

Thelma Dutton is one of only five specially trained nurses in the country who supports ICD patients both before and after their surgery.

She said: ``After the operation, they come to see myself and a technician in clinic and we talk about the device and reassure them.

``Some of them have a lot of shocks from the device and psychologically this is very hard to take.

``There is the physical pain and fright of the shock, but then there is also the uncertainty of when the next one will come.

``The new device will mean that instead of patients having to travel to see us, we will have instant access to their heart rate and reassure them if they think something is wrong.''

EDITORIALA REVOLUTIONARY new heart implant which sends text message warnings to doctors and gives electric shocks to slow down abnormally fast heart rates is being trialed in Liverpool.

Two patients suffering from Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS)are to have the miniature defibrillators implanted in their hearts next week.

The devices will monitor their heart rates and text the information to their consultants.

Doctors at the Liverpool Cardiothoracic Centre believe the new technology will save lives and change forever the way hospitals care for patients with serious heart problems.

The implant is an updated version of the Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD), which has been used to treat around 200 patients in the North West since 1992.

The device detects abnormally fast heart patterns, or Ventricular Tachycardia.

As a patient's heartbeat reaches a certain speed, the ICD starts to beat at a slightly faster rate and this action slows down the heart.

If the heart beat still fails to slow down, the ICD sends an 750 volt electric shock into the heart to restore its normal rhythm.

The new ICDs have home monitoring technology, which enables doctors to monitor patients with heart problems anywhere in the UK.

A transmitter chip inside the implant sends information to a hand-held unit kept by the patient.

The patient unit then generates a text message, which is transmitted over the mobile phone network to a computer at the Cardiothoracic Centre.

Consultants can monitor the heart rate and send an


WATCHING BRIEF: Susan Hughes monitors the screen, above; and, inset, Thelma Dutton
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 28, 2002
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