Heart experts move from clinic to bus for innovative awareness event

Heart experts at Southampton’s university hospitals will be moving out of the clinic and onto a bus tomorrow (Friday) as part of an innovative awareness event for patients, staff and visitors.

People will be invited to step onto the single-decker, known as Millie the Heart Express, at Southampton General Hospital to find out more about the world’s smallest pacemaker and heart monitor.

The idea, developed by medical device company Medtronic, is designed to raise awareness of the latest advancements in cardiac technology and will give visitors the chance to meet clinicians and participate in a range of activities.

These include tutorials and a practical exercise on the implantation of Medtronic’s Micra pacemaker, where budding cardiologists will get the chance to test their hand-eye coordination, and see how to fit a LINQ heart monitor, which is 87% smaller than its predecessor.

Millie, which is making its way to the UK after successful stops in the Netherlands – where it saw 1,000 visitors in one day – and Germany, is set to visit a total of eight countries as part of a European tour.

Among the other activities that will be on offer include 3D games, an e-learning corner, mini-simulation exercises via iPads, hands-on tables with a range of gadgets and plasma screens with videos detailing the design and production journey of each device.

In 2014, doctors in Southampton became the first in the UK to implant the Micra pacemaker, which is one-tenth the size of traditional models and is implanted directly in the heart – as opposed to other models which are inserted under the skin through an incision in the chest and connected to the heart via a lead.

The procedure was carried out by consultant cardiologists Dr Paul Roberts and Professor John Morgan, who described it as “a milestone for cardiac rhythm management in the UK”.

Dr Roberts, who will be on-hand to meet visitors during the event, said: “I am really pleased patients, staff and visitors will get the chance to come and find out more about some of these impressive developments in cardiac technology.

“As clinicians, it is very important we showcase not only the advancements clinical care in our hospitals, but also the processes behind them and the excellent progress being made in the science behind the technology available to us.

“Southampton has led the way with some of these technologies having implanted the first of these miniature pacemakers in the UK and I am looking forward to sharing some of our experiences with visitors on the day.”

Millie will be based in car park 10 at Southampton General Hospital (behind the Southampton Cancer Research UK Centre) from 10am to 3pm.

Posted on Thursday 21 January 2016