Monitor gives Mary new heart for a better life

Dr Jan Du Plooy and nurse Trish Mitchellhill with a device given to Mary Coward. Picture: JOHN RUSSELL

Dr Jan Du Plooy and nurse Trish Mitchellhill with a device given to Mary Coward. Picture: JOHN RUSSELL

A NEW heart monitor promises a better life for Mary Coward.

Mrs Coward, 85, is one of the first people in regional Australia to have the LINQ Implantable Cardiac Monitor installed.

It sits under the skin and records heartbeats to detect cardiac rhythm disorders.

After three blackouts in 12 months — which doctors have been unable to explain — Mrs Coward is feeling positive.

“I’ve been having a few problems,” she said.

“The doctors will be able to keep track of me now.”

Cardiologist Jan Du Plooy installed the device yesterday in a five- minute procedure at Albury Wodonga Private Hospital.

“It will record all the ECG activity in the heart for three years,” he said.

“If she has another turn, we will be able to access the information recorded on the device and see if there are any problems.

“It’s been installed in people in Melbourne, Sydney and Newcastle, and I believe Shepparton, but this is the first one in this area.”

Nearby patients can attend clinics to have the devices scanned when needed, and residents in remote communities can wirelessly scan the device and transmit the data to doctors.

“Mrs Coward can go home and carry on with her life,” Dr Du Plooy said.

“We won’t do any more testing.

“When she has a turn she can come in and we’ll scan it.”

Dr Du Plooy said heart arrhythmia was common.

“The heart can slow too much or it can start racing so that there’s not enough time for the heart to fill with blood,” he said.

“The device, which is about a third the size of a AAA battery, can detect such issues.”

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