Specialist nurses at Southampton’s teaching hospitals are now performing a minor surgical procedure as part of an expansion of cardiac services.
Patients with heart rhythm problems, such as the heart beating too fast, too slowly or irregularly, require the insertion of a monitor to identify changes in their conditions.
The device, Reveal LINQ, is the size of a paperclip and sends information remotely to patients’ clinicians.
It is placed under the collarbone under local anaesthetic and the procedure is conventionally carried out by consultant cardiologists.
Now, following an extensive training programme, the service at Southampton General Hospital is being provided by cardiac rhythm specialist nurses supported by the cardiac physiology team.
“Our cardiac rhythm nurses have undergone extensive training to implant these devices independently as part of an ongoing expansion of their roles and our leading cardiac services,” said Dr Waqas Ullah, a consultant cardiologist at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.
“This is a significant development in the roles and responsibilities of our nurses as these devices remain in place for around three years and are used to diagnose potentially life-threatening changes in heart rhythm.”
He added: “Importantly, in addition to developing the skills of our clinical team, this nurse-led service will ensure we can speed up clinic access for patients and free up consultant time.”
In a separate development for the service, Dr Ullah was recently invited to represent UHS in Pakistan where he demonstrated the use of a new piece of 3D mapping equipment.
Used widely in Southampton, it is required to help clinicians perform complex ablation procedures to scar or destroy tissue responsible for causing abnormal heart rhythm.
It was the first time the technology had been used in the country, which has a “huge unmet need” for patients with complex heart rhythm problems.
“It was a real honour to be asked to visit Pakistan to introduce this important technology and it is testament to the high level of service in Southampton that we are able to help lead the way in other countries,” said Dr Ullah.
“There is a huge unmet need for patients to be treated with complex heart rhythm problems in Pakistan, so hopefully this work will help to start a transformation in care for this patient group.”
Posted on Thursday 10 January 2019