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Phone app led to emergency heart op for Cheshire man

Published date: 26 February 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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A MAN diagnosed with a serious heart problem by his iPhone has spoken of his experience.

Mike Ward, 42, had experienced dizzy spells for a number of weeks but had put these down to stress or drinking too much caffeine.

It wasn’t until he blacked out during a meeting in work that the married father of three decided to return to his GP.

“One minute I was writing notes on a white board, and the next thing I knew I’d collapsed on the office floor in front of my colleagues,” said Mike.

“I’d always been fairly fit and active and hadn’t considered the possibility of a heart problem.

“However, I knew something wasn’t quite right and when I explained the symptoms to my GP and he referred me to Dr Derick Todd, a consultant cardiologist at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.”

Dr Todd carried out an electrocardiograme ECG, which tests for abnormal heart rhythms, using his own iPhone.

Dr Todd said: “I’d recently discovered a piece of innovative technology called the AliveCor Heart Monitor, which is an iPhone app that can record an ECG directly on to your phone.

“The ECG can then be emailed to the consultant looking after the patient.”

The system allows patients or medical staff to track cardiac rhythm easily and safely, as well as recording and transferring the ECG directly from the app.

He added: “When I saw Mike and he told me about his dizzy spells and blackouts, I was concerned.

“I downloaded the app to his phone and told him to perform an ECG the next time he experienced the symptoms and to email the trace to me.”

The small, portable heart monitor gives patients the freedom to continue with their daily activities without the constraints of an uncomfortable chest strap or an indiscreet monitor.

“It also enables consultants to monitor their patients between appointments.”

Two days later, during a meeting in work, Mike used his phone to record his heart racing at well over 200 beats per minute.

Mike, who lives on Waterloo Lane, near Delamere Forest, said: “Following my initial appointment, I experienced further dizzy spells and heart palpitations which I was able to capture on the heart monitor.

“As soon as Dr Todd received the traces, he contacted me to say I needed to be admitted to hospital straight away for further tests.

“These tests showed I needed an urgent ablation procedure to correct my condition called right ventricle outflow tract ventricular tachycardia.”

Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital, one of the country’s premier cardiothoracic centres, carries out more than 1,200 ablation procedures each year to control or correct abnormal heart rhythms.

After the procedure was carried out successfully, Mike was discharged the same day.

He said: “I couldn’t fault the hospital and the staff – they were superb.

“I’m just so glad to be able to get on with my life, symptom-free.”

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