Hospital staff celebrate fitting their 10,000th pacemaker

Staff from the heart unit celebrate the 10,000-pacemaker milestone.
Staff from the heart unit celebrate the 10,000-pacemaker milestone.

Heart unit staff at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are celebrating a special milestone after implanting its 10,000th pacemaker.

A pacemaker is a small device that is placed in the chest to help control abnormal heart rhythms.

It uses electrical pulses to prompt the heart to beat at a normal rate.

The heart team at The James Cook University Hospital fitted their first pacemaker back in 1993.

They now implant about 800 of the devices every year in the hospital’s cardiac catheterisation labs.

Many of these are complex cases, as more straightforward procedures can now be carried out in district hospitals.

Consultant cardiologist Dr Andrew Turley said: “It’s a tremendous achievement to get to number 10,000.

“These devices have a clear benefit to life expectancy and every year we are doing more and helping more patients.”

The award-winning cardiac electrophysiology team have pioneered a number of leading edge treatments over the last 25 years.

Nancy Knowles, 79, had the honour of being patient number 10,000.

The Northallerton grandmother had been diagnosed with heart failure, but had put off having a pacemaker for more than two years.

Eventually she became very breathless and found herself attending appointments in a wheelchair, so she agreed to undergo the procedure.

Mrs Knowles had the pacemaker fitted and was out of hospital the same day.