New system for Eastbourne stroke patients is hailed a success

A new heart rhythm pathway that monitors stroke patients has been successful at identifying a group of people as being at potential risk of another stroke due to their abnormal heart rhythm.

Monday, 14th June 2021, 12:36 pm
Updated Monday, 14th June 2021, 12:38 pm

The cause of some patients’ strokes are unexplained and in those cases, a heart monitor is implanted just under the skin by a specialist nurse before they leave hospital to monitor their heart rhythm remotely.

During the first year of the new patient pathway, that started a year ago, 75 per cent of stroke patients were identified with an abnormal heart rhythm within three months of their initial stroke.

Previously, a heart monitor was only implanted in selected patients three months after their initial stroke requiring them to come back into hospital for a procedure.

L-R Jacqui Hunt, heart failure and devices specialist nurse, with monitor implant and professor Nikhil Patel, consultant cardiologist. SUS-210614-115753001
L-R Jacqui Hunt, heart failure and devices specialist nurse, with monitor implant and professor Nikhil Patel, consultant cardiologist. SUS-210614-115753001

Identifying patients enables early treatment to be undertaken to correct their heart rhythm helping to prevent a further stroke.

A spokesperson from East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust said, “During the first wave of the covid pandemic there was limited cardiac outpatient monitoring.

“Working together the cardiology and stroke team introduced this new pathway.

“There has been a multidisciplinary approach with a specialist cardiac nurse taking a leading in the device implantation.

“This has resulted in an improved patient experience and a higher quality service.”

According to East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, the county has been nationally recognised as introducing a best practice pathway in the recent NICE guidance.

Professor Nikhil Patel, consultant cardiologist and head of cardiovascular services said, “Limited diagnostic testing availability and people’s reluctance to attend hospital during the first wave created an opportunity to introduce this pathway sooner than we had originally planned.

“It has proved to be very successful at identifying patients a lot sooner where their arrhythmia could potentially lead to another stroke and allows us to undertake preventative treatment.”

Julie Noble from Eastbourne a former stroke patient who received her monitor before she left hospital, said, “To suffer a stroke was totally unexpected but having this monitor implant constantly tracking my heart beat gives me a great deal of comfort.

“Knowing that the doctors and nurses at the hospital are keeping an eye on me is very reassuring.”