Stevenage woman, 24, given life back by Lister cardiac team
THE cardiology team at Lister Hospital in Stevenage has been revealed as one of the best in the UK for implanting pacemakers. European guidelines state 700 people in every million will need to be fitted with a pacemaker every year to regulate their heartb
THE cardiology team at Lister Hospital in Stevenage has been revealed as one of the best in the UK for implanting pacemakers.
European guidelines state 700 people in every million will need to be fitted with a pacemaker every year to regulate their heartbeat.
According to the Heart Rhythm Devices National Report, the UK is only fitting 511 in every million, but The East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust - which runs Lister - is fitting pacemakers at a rate of 716 per million. It is one of the few Trusts in the country hitting the European target.
Dr Diana Gorog, consultant cardiologist and clinical director of cardiology at the Trust, said: "Our success is largely down to the fact we have a dynamic team of consultants, who see a large number of patients."
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She said the lower UK implantation rate may be due to under-referral and misdiagnosis by non-specialists.
"We are diagnosing and implanting pacemakers appropriately and, locally, all those who require pacing are identified and offered treatment," said Dr Gorog.
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Victoria Sealy, of Austens Paths in Stevenage, is one patient who has benefited from the expertise of Lister's cardiology team.
She had been having blackouts since she was 12 and, at 19, was jolted into getting help.
"I just suddenly fainted," she said. "I was working as a carer at the time and had a gentleman in the bath who was an amputee.
"I was supposed to be looking after him and he was the one who had to call for help for me. It was extremely scary. He could have been in the bath for goodness knows how long. He could even have died."
Doctors gave her a heart monitor to wear for a day and within hours of handing it back she was told to return to the hospital.
"It turns out my heart had been flat-lining and when I fell over and hit the floor it would kick start it again," said Victoria, now 24.
"What if I'd been asleep on a soft bed when it happened? What about all those times I'd been driving? It's not just my life that was in danger."
Victoria was diagnosed with a condition called neurocardiogenic syncope with cardioinhibitory response and the following day had a pacemaker fitted during a 45-minute procedure.
"I realised the difference it had made almost immediately," said Victoria.
"Before I was so conscious about where I went and who I went with, but now I knew there was little risk of me fainting. It gave me a lot more freedom. "Basically the pacemaker kicks in whenever it senses my heart rate has dropped. It feels a bit strange, like palpitations."
At first medical reports revealed the pacemaker was assisting Victoria's heart about 54 per cent of the time, but now this has dropped to 17 per cent.
Victoria, who works for CKS Global Solution in Stevenage, has a check-up every year, and the battery is likely to need replacing every 10 years. Other than that, she said, she is just enjoying getting on with her life.
"Now I have a perfect life, a house, a good job and a husband who adores me," said Victoria.