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Leicester hospital trust remotely monitors AF patients


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Image source: Andrey Suslov

University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust has become one of the first in the UK to create a remote monitoring ward for patients with atrial fibrillation.

The scheme will provide 120 virtual beds, is being run with health tech specialist Dignio, and is supported by £274,000 funding from NHS England’s Transformation Directorate.

A pilot scheme has already seen patients given special equipment to monitor their blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen levels as well as a device that produces an electrocardiogram (ECG) that gives detailed assessment of their heart rhythm.

Readings and symptoms are captured via the My Dignio app, which allows patient data to be automatically and securely transmitted to the hospital, where it can be viewed by clinicians remotely.

Atrial fibrillation, commonly called AF, is a common heart rhythm disturbance where parts of the heart ‘misfire’, causing the heart to beat irregularly and often more quickly.

Patients admitted with fast heart rates would normally spend two or more days in hospital with close monitoring to assess response to the treatment received. With the new solution, suitable patients can stay at home.

Glimpse into future

Professor Andre Ng, consultant cardiologist and electrophysiologist at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and professor of cardiac electrophysiology at the University of Leicester, said: “This is a glimpse into the future of care for patients with atrial fibrillation.

“This brand new service gives patients the opportunity to be managed and recuperate in their own homes whilst their heart rhythm settles back to normal but with the peace of mind that they’re still being monitored by specialist clinicians.”

University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust has taken part in international research into AF treatments and recently participated in a study which pioneered a concept of early treatment specifically designed to prevent strokes.

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