12 March 2024

New ‘game-changing’ leadless pacemaker gives young nurse her life back

Heart specialists begin offering leadless pacemaker that is smaller than an AAA battery to suitable patients, with young nurse Emily Coles one of first in north of England to benefit






A young nurse who had to put her life on hold after being diagnosed with a serious heart condition has been able to get her life back on track after becoming one of the first patients in the north of England to have a new leadless pacemaker implanted into her heart by doctors at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Emily Coles, 24, was diagnosed with reflex syncope associated with sinus pauses following a collapse at home last year.

As her blackouts were unpredictable and associated with her heart pausing for more than ten seconds, her doctors told her she could not drive and needed to take precautions until her condition was treated.

The news came as a blow to the busy staff nurse, who likes to keep fit and healthy.

“My condition took away my independence and my confidence and I was unable to do the things I love and had taken for granted. Not being able to drive had a big impact on my life as I’m a staff nurse and work 12-hour shifts. Being told that I could collapse at any point was not something I wanted to hear as I am young person who likes to keep fit and healthy.”

Game-changing solution for patients who require less frequent 'pacing'

Heart specialists at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust informed Emily about a new leadless pacemaker device, which is designed to treat appropriate patients with slow heart rhythms and is implanted directly into the heart using a minimally invasive procedure that avoids the need for an incision to the chest near the heart.

The new device, which is suitable for a small number of patients with certain medical conditions, operates without the need for leads, with the battery and electronic chips housed within its compartment. The device is smaller than an AAA battery and has a significantly longer battery life.

The leadless nature of the design is also advantageous for patients on kidney dialysis as the wireless design spares obstruction to their central vein, meaning they can continue to have treatments for kidney failure in this reliable and safe way.

Emily among first patients to benefit in north of England

Emily is among the first patients in the north of England, and one of the first at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to benefit from the new device.

“My life had been on hold since I collapsed on 2nd September, and I struggled to come to terms with the idea of having a pacemaker fitted at the age of 24. It’s been a few weeks after my op, and I will soon be able to resume driving again, something I had taken for granted before my diagnosis. I will also be able to exercise again and reinstate my gym membership, and I can look forward to doing the things I never questioned I might not be able to do.

“I’d like to thank the team at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals for their professionalism and expertise and for allowing me to get my life back on track once more. Without this device, my future would be looking very different.”

Dr Nigel Lewis, Consultant Cardiologist, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted to be offering this innovative technology to suitable patients in South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire and beyond. The new leadless system provides a game-changing solution to patients who require less frequent ‘pacing’, particularly those on dialysis and younger patients who are otherwise fit and healthy. Patients with atrial fibrillation and those with risks of infection requiring a pacemaker are also set to benefit. These new devices are an advance in technology and have been shown in most recent clinical trials to have low complication rates and excellent predicted battery longevity.”

The new leadless pacemakers are being delivered by a specialist team of cardiologists, nurses, radiographers, and physiologists at the South Yorkshire Cardiothoracic Centre will deliver the implantable leadless devices to suitable patients. 


Photos: Dr Lewis with the leadless pacemaker device (far right) and specialist interventional cardiology team delivering the treatment at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals









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