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Nursing team at Medway Maritime hospital using remote technology to save lives

A two-person nursing team is using cutting-edge technology to save the lives of people with heart conditions.

The duo at Medway Maritime Hospital are the only nurse-led arrhythmia team in the county, tasked with caring for and monitoring patients with irregular heart rhythms.

Owen Rogers and Cathy Denne look after around 350 patients in the Medway area, by implanting a small device into the chest of the patient.

The technology allows them to monitor heart rhythms remotely from the hospital.

It can even send data to the team if the patient is abroad.

Owen said: "Patients sometimes have very long-standing symptoms that have previously gone undiagnosed.

"We come along and implant this technology which allows us to monitor patients' heart rhythm 24 hours a day, and actually questions are answered fairly quickly."

The device used to monitor patients is the size of a pen lid
The device used to monitor patients is the size of a pen lid

Dr Sandeep Ghandi said having a nurse-led team leaves consultants more time to focus on an already-heavy workload.

He said: "We're very fortunate to have that service, it's a brilliant service.

"It cuts down the waiting time for the patients and allows us to do other procedures."

Dr Ghandi said one of the biggest concerns to medical staff are people who experience blackouts.

He said: "It's a huge problem, these patients present again and again broken hips, bleeds to the brain, and they're misdiagnosed because we don't capture the ECG at the time of the collapse."

Owen and Cathy manage a case load of hundreds of patients with irregular heart rhythms
Owen and Cathy manage a case load of hundreds of patients with irregular heart rhythms

With Cathy and Owen monitoring heart rates using the implant, the team have a much bigger data set to help diagnose problems like blackouts before being able to treat them.

One person who benefited from the service was Roger Page, 75, of Abbey Road, Strood.

Mr Page was referred to the arrhythmia unit after suffering a blackout.

"I actually passed out when I was coming home one day and ended up in the middle of the road," he said.

After having the device fitted, Cathy and Owen were able to monitor Mr Pages's heart rhythm whilst he went about his ordinary life.

Roger Page is one of hundreds of residents in Medway benefitting from the arrhythmia team
Roger Page is one of hundreds of residents in Medway benefitting from the arrhythmia team

Knowing the nurses were keeping an eye on his heart remotely made him feel safer.

"Of course if you've got the monitor in they know exactly what is happening to you," he said.

"You're under more care really, and less time without having to go to A&E, then to see a doctor."

The data helped them diagnose Mr Page with a left bundle branch block, which causes fainting and can lead to other serious complications.

He had a pacemaker fitted in July to treat the condition and regulate his heart rhythms.

Now he is able to get back to doing the things he enjoys most - golfing and going on holiday with his wife.

Read more: All the latest news from Medway

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