Skip to main content Skip to footer

UHNM Heart Centre pacing ahead with innovative new pacemaker procedure

Patients with heart conditions at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM) are set to benefit from an innovative new pacemaker procedure.

Teams from the Royal Stoke University Hospital’s Heart Centre are pioneering a new conduction system pacing technique.

This new procedure sees the existing pacemaker attached to the heart via the nervous system rather than heart wall, resulting in more natural contractions.

Dr Thanh Phan, Consultant Cardiologist and Lead Cardiac  Electrophysiologist at UHNM said: “We fit around 1,500 pacemakers each year at UHNM, usually to more elderly patients whose heart rate has slowed down as they’ve got older. The pacemaker box which contains the brains of the pacemaker and the battery are implanted underneath the skin, usually on the left shoulder. There are then pacing leads that connect the pacemaker to the heart via a vein in the shoulder. With these leads attached to the heart, the pacemaker detects when the heartrate is too slow and begins pacing the heart by sending electrical signals down these leads.

“Conventionally, these pacemaker leads are implanted into the inner muscle of the heart, however, this can cause a desynchrony between the left and right sides of the heart when it contracts, and over time this can lead to potential long-term problems such as heart failure.

“The new conduction system pacing technique places the leads next to the nervous system of the heart itself, sending signals to the nerves that spread to the rest of the heart, resulting in a more synchronised, more natural contraction and reducing the risk of developing heart failure.”

The new conduction system pacing procedure will be offered to patients at UHNM with reduced heart functions who would benefit from a more natural form of pacing.

One of the first patients to benefit from the new technique at UHNM was Lynda Packer from Wombourne.

The 70-year-old underwent the new procedure to replace a previous pacemaker fitted following a heart attack three years ago.

Lynda said: “I had my previous device fitted following a heart attack whilst at the Staffordshire County Show. My new pacemaker is amazing, I can now breathe properly and am not getting anywhere near as out of breath as I had done in the previous years, it’s incredible. I now feel like I want to get back to the gym.

“It sounds a cliché, but everyone involved in my care at the Heart Centre at UHNM is amazing. I’ve got no complaints about anybody, all the staff are just incredible, and they are so knowledgeable. The Heart Centre is a kind and wonderful place, and my message to any future patients is don’t be afraid of what you’re about to have done, go for it. It will change your life and give you that feeling you’ve got a life again.”

Joanne Hill, Directorate Manager for UHNM’s Heart Centre said: “It is fantastic news for our patients that we can offer our patients this cutting edge technology, and I am very proud of our Cardiology Team who continue to support our mission to deliver exceptional care to our local population.”

Dr Phan added: “We’re very excited to be able to offer this new pioneering technique to our local population, further enhancing a minimally invasive procedure that is already offered as a day case, in our state-of-the-art cardiac catheter laboratories, supported by UHNM Charity. It has a very promising future, and to have this ability here at UHNM ensures we are giving our patients the most cutting-edge treatment.”