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Cardiac first for Northampton with pioneering pacemaker technolgy

Brian Muddiman and team

Brian Muddiman, the first patient in the UK to be fitted with leadless pacemaker in a district general hospital, pictured with some of his care team at NGH

Northampton General Hospital has become the first district general hospital in the UK to fit the world’s smallest pacemaker. 

The leadless pacemaker can be implanted directly into the patient’s heart via a vein in the leg, halving the risk of major complications associated with conventional pacemakers.

Conventional pacemakers are placed in the patient's chest with leads running to the heart. 

Faster recovery time for patients

Beverley Edwards, head of physiology at NGH said: "The leadless device benefits patients thanks to its faster recovery time and fewer physical restrictions. Patients are mobile almost straight away. By comparison, there’s a six-week recovery period for standard pacemakers which includes not being able to raise the left arm above shoulder height. 

"There are also benefits to our patients’ emotional wellbeing – the lack of scarring and the unobtrusiveness of the device means patients really can forget all about them. They don’t feel ill and they don’t have a constant reminder of the fact they have a device helping their heart to work." 

Significantly lower risk

Consultant cardiologist Dr David Sharman carried out the first leadless pacemaker procedure at NGH. He said: "The device isn’t suitable for everyone but is of particular benefit to patients who have higher risk of developing complications. For example, those patients already receiving treatment for other conditions such as dialysis. There’s less hardware and it’s all enclosed within the heart, so there’s a significantly lower risk of complication or infection.  

"And because they're fitted into the heart via a vein in the thigh, there's no major surgery required; the procedure can be carried out in less than half an hour without the need for general anaesthetic. It’s great news for our patients that we’re able to offer this procedure." 

First patient

Brian Muddiman, aged 81, was the first NGH patient to receive the pacemaker. He said: "The whole process has been great. As I lay on the bed I could see my heart on a big screen and see the pacemaker making its way along into my heart. The next day I felt fine. Going up the stairs there was no puffing and blowing like before. It’s great that other people will be able to have it too." 


Northampton General Hospital is working with the manufacturers of the device, Medtronic, to pilot its use in UK hospitals that don’t specialise in cardiac operations. This technology has been available for two years with 2,500 devices fitted in 19 European countries. NGH is expecting to carry out 25 procedures with this device each year. 

Posted on Wednesday 12th July 2017
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