Heart patients arriving as emergencies at South Tyneside District Hospital can now be fitted with potentially life-saving pacemakers in under an hour.
The new development is the latest progression in South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust’s pacemaker service, which will soon mark its 10th anniversary.
Dr Mickey Jachuck, consultant cardiologist at the hospital, in Harton Lane, South Shields, said: “Whilst the majority of patients who need treatment with a pacemaker are stable and can have their implant planned, occasionally some cases present in A&E as emergencies needing immediate or urgent intervention.
“Previously, it took time to identify and prepare an operating theatre for such cases but this year we opened our newly-refurbished cardiac facility, containing the very latest imaging and monitoring equipment, and all cardiac procedures, including pacemaker implants, can be performed there.
“This is a fantastic achievement which is, undoubtedly, saving patients’ lives.”
Bob Raine, 89, from Boldon, was brought in to hospital by ambulance as an emergency after he collapsed and hit his head.
Following initial concern over possible concussion, attention swiftly moved to his heart and it was decided that he needed a new pacemaker, which was fitted within 40 minutes.
Mr Raine said: “I think what they did was marvellous and I really appreciate it.”
In the last decade, more than 600 patients have had pacemakers implanted at South Tyneside.