Elmet and Rothwell MP, Alec Shelbrooke, took the opportunity to see the latest medical technology in action during a visit to one of the largest and busiest Interventional Cardiology Units in the UK, on Friday 7th February.

Some fifty years after the world’s first pacemaker was implanted in a patient, the unit at Leeds General Infirmary fits approximately 500 pacemakers such as ICDs, and carries out approximately 500 catheter ablation procedures for treating arrhythmia, and nearly 1,000 angioplasty procedures every year.

Heart rhythm management is heavily reliant on medical technology. It is used in catheter ablation, one of the only truly curative procedures in cardiology and has provided life-saving devices such as cardioverter defibrillator implants, around 150 of which are fitted every year to patients at the Interventional Cardiology Department in Leeds.

During his tour, led by Dr Chris Pepper, Consultant Cardiologist, Mr Shelbrooke changed into theatre scrubs and was given the opportunity to observe device implants and catheter ablation being carried out in the unit’s operating theatre. He also met arrhythmia patients in the Pacemaker Clinic.

Alec Shelbrooke is giving his backing to a pledge to improve patient access to medical technology. The pledge has been signed by MPs and Peers from the three main political parties and is being organised by the Medical Technology Group (MTG), a coalition of patient groups, research charities and medical device manufacturers, which is committed to increasing patient access to high quality, life-improving technologies to all who need it.

Mr Shelbrooke said, “We are fortunate to have one of the UK’s largest cardiology units in Leeds. The Interventional Cardiology Department is a prime example of how medical technology can be applied to benefit patients and make the National Health Service more efficient. It was a pleasure to experience it first hand to see the difference it is making to patients’ lives.”

Barbara Harpham, National Director of Heart Research UK and Chair of the MTG, said, “Medical technology such as interventional cardiology can deliver huge benefits for patients and the NHS. Receiving an effective, invasive procedure in a specialised unit like the one at Leeds General Infirmary means patients can go on to make a faster recovery, have their condition managed and enjoy a better outcome.”

“It also means beds are free for other patients, saving the NHS money in the long run.”

Dr Pepper added: “As a team, we are very proud of the heart rhythm service we offer and it is a pleasure to be able to demonstrate how modern medical technology can make a vital difference by saving lives and reducing the personal burden for patients with heart rhythm disorders”.


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