A remote heart rhythm monitoring and emergency tele-echocardiography service has been launched across Wales, which has proved invaluable during the current COVID19 pandemic.
Professor Orhan Uzun developed a new streaming device in collaboration with EMRTS-Welsh Air Ambulance for Children and Tactical Wireless, through UK Space Agency Funding at a 1/30th cost of the existing and ailing equipment. Mrs Claire Logan, the specialist cardiac liaison nurse, who is working alongside Professor Uzun as the nominated lead nurse within the team to maintain standards of this service from the clinical governance standpoint.
The project received financial support from the Leon Montanari Heart Fund Charity as well as financial support from Martha’s Dancing Heart Campaign, which supports, Cardiff & Vale Health Charity’s Neonatal and Paediatric Cardiology Investigation services. The Leon Montanari Heart Fund Charity supports Paediatric Cardiology services across Wales.
Modern telemedicine equipment was acquired to start a pilot project across Wales. The equipment has saved many lives by allowing paediatricians and neonatologists in district general hospitals to obtain instant specialist opinion on live heart scan images in sick children, who cannot be transferred immediately, with severe heart problems.
Professor Uzun says “After successful trials in real emergencies, it has shown efficacy of the model in clinical use. The first in its kind to demonstrate true utilisation of telemedicine beyond its basic teleconferencing modality not only for improving patient’s lives, but also allowing huge cost savings for the NHS.
“24 hour Holter and other ambulatory heart rhythm monitoring devices could also not be given to children suffering from arrhythmias during the pandemic. This could have led to serious consequences in the diagnosis and management of rhythm problems in children.
Therefore, funding was again given to purchase and donate over 22 wireless and wearable ECG watches and ECG plates to be used for tele-arrhythmia service development and care delivery.
“Likewise, tele-echocardiography, we are in the process of spreading and scaling the tele-arrhythmia service to all Welsh district general hospitals to obviate the need for children to travel to Cardiff to receive the equipment. Glangwili, Nevill Hall, Singleton and Princess of Wales Hospitals have been provided with similar equipment and heart doctors, nurses and physiologists in each health board are being nominated. Again, both fundraisers are acquiring further devices for this purpose.
“Such effective, unique and stellar emergency telemedicine services are the first in its kind in the Wales and possibly in the UK. As a result, heart specialists, neonatologists and paediatricians in Wales now have a seamless tele-echocardiography and arrhythmia monitoring provision which were made available to them with true patient-medical professional engagement activity and an exemplary model of public and NHS collaboration. We are truly grateful for the generosity and tireless efforts of these selfless individuals and their charities.”
Professor Uzun, Michelle Graham and Julie Montanari have been pivotal in acting rapidly to close the gap in children’s arrhythmia service provision by demonstrating true citizen and NHS partnership. As a result, the Children’s Heart Unit for Wales have been provided with these pieces of equipment for the use of children with heart problems throughout the pandemic without any interruption of the service.
To read more of Michelle Graham’s story, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/marthasdancingheart
Pictured; Mrs Michelle Graham, Claire Logan, Specialist Cardiac Liaison Nurse, Professor Orhan Uzun.