Dudley doctor Craig Barr is leading the world with trials of a revolutionary life-saving device for people at risk of sudden cardiac arrest.
The Russells Hall Hospital consultant is among the first to use the Subcutaneous Implantable Defibrillator (S-ICD) device which will prolong the lives of at-risk patients.
Eight patients have recently had the operation to implant the technology, which, unlike previous devices, is implanted solely under the skin, rather than via a blood vessel directly into the heart chambers.
The operations were carried out by Dr Barr under the expert supervision of Dr Andrew Grace, from Papworth Hospital, in Cambridgeshire.
The hospital was chosen as the site for the first trials in the UK because of Dr Barr’s work with cardiac device therapies over the past decade.
Dr Barr hailed the device as the biggest development in implantable defibrillator technology in the past 20 years.
“These devices reduce the risk of infection and complications with the blood vessels and will prolong the lives of patients at risk of sudden cardiac arrest,” he said. For the first time in two decades we have a new form of device which can be implanted entirely below the skin.
“It’s very exciting that Russells Hall Hospital has been selected as the first place to trial the devices in the UK, only weeks after the initial implants in New Zealand, Italy and the Netherlands.”
Dr Grace, who flew back to the UK after showing doctors in the Netherlands how to carry out the procedure, said it was a great achievement for the hospital to be the first place in the country to trial the new technology.
The S-ICD is inserted into a pocket under the arm and an electrode threaded under the skin about an inch away from the breastbone.
The device received regulatory approval in the EU on June 12 thanks to work undertaken in Dudley and centres in Europe and New Zealand.