UK doctors have become the first in the world to implant a new pacemaker which can be monitored by the patient’s smartphone using Bluetooth technology.
Dr John Paisey, a consultant cardiologist at University Hospital Southampton (UHS) NHS Foundation Trust, performed four of the first five procedures in the world at Southampton General Hospital with the first being carried out at the Royal Stoke University Hospital.
A UHS spokesman said: “After implanting a new longer life pacemaker known as Azure, doctors then use a lightweight and portable iPad-controlled system known as SmartSync to programme the cardiac leads.
“The Azure pacemaker is fitted with BlueSync, a form of low-energy Bluetooth developed by Medtronic which not only automatically connects the device wirelessly to the programming system but also to an app on a patient’s smartphone to monitor their heart health.
“It is the first time a pacemaker has been fitted, programmed and able to transmit data immediately to a smartphone app using Bluetooth – and its cutting-edge low-energy form minimises battery drain
on the device.”
Dr Paisey said: “This is extremely exciting technology which enables us to co-ordinate everything from the implantation of a pacemaker and its initial programming through to ongoing real-time monitoring via a smartphone all by low-energy Bluetooth.
“It is another major development in using technology to improve efficiency, reliability and accuracy and ensure patients can transmit their data consistently and seamlessly through an app – it is the definition of technological innovation in healthcare.”
In 2014, doctors at UHS implanted the world’s smallest pacemaker, known as the Micra Transcatheter Pacing System, which is one-tenth the size of traditional models and is placed directly in the heart.