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New heart scanner at Worthing Hospital featuring on BBC South Today

Thursday September 3, 2015

Worthing is the first hospital in the country to provide visitors with an opportunity to use a new hand scanner that detects abnormal heart rhythms that could lead to strokes.

The BBC visited the hospital on Thursday to produce a news report which featured on BBC South Today.

It was Consultant Cardiologist, Dr Madhava Dissanayake, who originally invited UK medtec company Cardiocity to position one of their 30 second hand scanning devices in the Main Entrance foyer.

Speaking last week, he said: “It is fantastic news for our patients and visitors. Our aim is to identify people with heart rhythm disturbances and potentially detect conditions to prevent strokes.”

On the day the machine was installed last Wednesday, the founder of Cardiocity, Chris Crockford, said: “This is the first time one of these devices has been available in a hospital setting and it is unique.

“We have had long discussions about the design of the software with Dr Dissanayake and the cardiac team at Worthing and we have custom wirtten the software for Worthing Hospital – it even includes a map of how to get to the Cardiac Department within the hospital which will be shown to those people whose scans suggest they require some further investigation.”

The vast majority of people will receive the ‘all clear’ after they have placed thier palms on the scanner for 30 seconds, but others will require some additional investigations.

The data from the scans is emailed straight to the Cardiac Department where people can discuss their results and they could, in some instances, receive a full ECG test there and then.

Dr Dissanayake said: “The condition we are looking for is atrial fibrillation and for a lot of people there can be no symptoms at all.

“Basically, the top chamber of their heart beats out of sync and irregularly, so blood doesn’t flow freely. This can result in little blood clots forming and they can shoot off and cause strokes.

“If we can pick up one atrial fibrillation a week the impact would be amazing and we can make a dramatic difference to people’s lives and save them being debilitated by strokes.

The cardiologist added: “We are the first trust to do something like this and it is wonderful.”

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