A heart technology Europe first for health trust

Remote technology to improve care for patients with heart conditions has been used for the first time in Europe by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

By Andrew Coulson
Wednesday, 9th March 2022, 5:08 pm
Dr Iain Matthews with the Renamic Neo programmer.
Dr Iain Matthews with the Renamic Neo programmer.

And one of the patients to have been treated using the Renamic Neo programmer so far at Wansbeck General Hospital has highly praised the “amazing technology”.

The trust has been using programmers to ‘talk’ to crucial cardiac equipment inside a patient’s body, like pacemakers or defibrillators, for some time – but when changes or adjustments are needed, it sometimes requires someone from the manufacturer to be present.

Renamic Neo is the latest internet-connected programmer model from BIOTRONIK, enabling digital working in clinical environments, and the company offers a LiveSupport service to remotely support medical professionals during its use.

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This means that there is no need for a BIOTRONIK technician to be present with the clinician and patient at the hospital.

They can be working from anywhere in the country, which is helping to reduce waiting times and keep patient scheduling flexible.

The new system’s prototype has been used in the US, UK and Europe, but the first live use of the final system in Europe was a Northumbria Healthcare patient in mid-November.

Its ongoing use at the trust’s hospitals in Northumberland and North Tyneside is also helping to support a continent-wide pilot.

Alan Brown had a third lead connected to his pacemaker at Wansbeck General Hospital in December.

The 82-year-old, from Stocksfield, said: “I thought it was absolutely fantastic. It’s amazing technology and there was no problem whatsoever.

“There was a cardiac physiologist with me and then someone on the screen from BIOTRONIK. I would be happy to recommend it to other patients.”

When told he was among the first in Europe to be treated with this kit, he added: “I’ve never felt so famous in my life!”

Mr Brown was diagnosed with a heart block – a condition where a problem with the electrical pulses that control how your heart beats causes it to beat more slowly or with an abnormal rhythm.

Dr Iain Matthews, Northumbria Healthcare’s head of cardiology, said: “With the new system, patients don’t need to wait for a time when someone can attend in person, minimising trips to hospital and reducing waiting times.”