04/09/2023 | Press releases

Heart failure patients can get life-saving treatment closer to home

 

Six members of the ESNEFT heart team standing in the lab at the Ipswich Heart Centre

Staff from the ESNEFT Heart Team

 

Patients with heart failure can now have life-saving surgery at Ipswich Hospital, instead of having to travel to specialist centres in the region.

ESNEFT’s cardiac team which works across Colchester and Ipswich can now fit biventricular pacemakers, something that previously could only be done at The Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge and Essex Cardiothoracic Centre in Basildon. The first operation took place in early August.

For the right patients, these pacemakers can improve symptoms and reduce the risk of hospital admission and death.

While standard pacemakers have routinely been fitted at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals for the last 15 years, they are not suitable for patients with heart failure.

Fitting a biventricular pace maker is more complex because it requires two wires to be implanted, with one going into the left hand side of the heart which is more difficult to do.

Dr Peter Brown (pictured second left) is consultant cardiologist and clinical lead for cardiology. He said: “This is fantastic news for our patients as it means we can provide expert, life-saving care closer to home for many people who may find it difficult to get to places like Cambridge and Basildon. It will also improve access and waiting times.

“There are also environmental benefits as patients no longer have to make several journeys to different towns.

“It will be a while before we can offer the service to every patient who needs it, but we’re delighted to have made a start.”

 

CASE STUDY

‘I trusted them with my life and it has made such a difference’

Hazel Deane (pictured) was the first person to have a biventricular pacemaker fitted at Ipswich Hospital. She has praised the care she received and the huge difference the surgery has made to her quality of life.

Picture of Hazel Deane

Hazel Deane

 

Hazel had the specialist device inserted in early August after an irregular heartbeat left her sapped of energy and unable to climb the stairs.

In the past, the 67-year-old would have needed to travel to either Papworth or Braintree for the specialist procedure – so described it as a “no brainer” when she was asked if she’d like to be the very first patient to receive the surgery closer to home at Ipswich Hospital.

“I felt really good within two weeks of the operation – it made such a big difference,” said Hazel, who lives near Stowmarket. “I have always been fit and active but was just feeling worse and worse before the surgery – I’d be talking to my husband one minute and have nodded off the next. Managing the stairs was also difficult and I was having to go up them on my hands and knees.

“It was absolutely brilliant to have the surgery done at Ipswich and so convenient as I was home by teatime. Everyone at the hospital was lovely and looked after me fantastically. I had no qualms when I was asked if I’d be the first to have the surgery at Ipswich – I trusted them with my life and hope that other people will get to have the operation now too.

“It has made a really big difference – I’ve got a lot more energy and the fluid I had on my chest has gone. I’m really looking forward to getting back into the gym and all of the activities I enjoy.”

 

Back to top