PIONEERING pensioner Brian Marley is enjoying a new lease of life after becoming a ‘medical first’ in South Tyneside.
The 70–year–old is the first person in the borough – and one of only a handful in the North East – to have been fitted with a new wireless pacemaker.
The device means doctors at South Tyneside District Hospital in South Shields can monitor Mr Marley’s heart from anywhere in the world.
And the father-of-two recently put it to test earlier this month after he and his wife Maureen, 73, went on a 12-day Baltic cruise to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary.
Mr Marley, of Hutton Row, in Westoe Crown Village, South Shields, was fitted with the wireless pacemaker on May 21, due to suffering from a heart murmur.
The retired Coal Board train driver now takes a box - similar to an Internet router - with him whenever he goes away from him home for long periods of time.
This sends signals back to the hospital, in Harton Lane, South Shields, and will email medics if there are any problems with his heart - before the grandfather-of-one may even realise himself.
Mr Marley said: “I think the pacemaker is fantastic, I was always panting for breath before but now I’m as fit as a butcher’s dog.
“After a scan I was told I had a heart murmur, I was skipping a beat, and that’s why I needed the operation.
“We went on a cruise over to Russia about a week after the operation and it was very reassuring to know that the doctors could check for any problems while I was away.”
Mr Marley admits to quite liking the idea of being the first patient within the borough to receive a wireless pacemaker.
He said: “When I was told I would be the first within the borough to receive it, I didn’t have any reservations at all, I thought ‘just go for it’.
“I don’t have to carry the box around with me all of the time, just when I go on holiday, the rest of the time it just stays in my bedroom.
“It’s been marvellous, I haven’t had a bit of bother with it.”