A REVOLUTIONARY coin-sized heart monitor has successfully been implanted by Hampshire doctors.

The monitor device, which is the size of a 5p coin, was fitted in a heart failure patient by cardiac experts at Southampton General Hospital.

The wireless CardioMEMS Heart Failure System is a tiny battery-free sensor which is implanted into the pulmonary artery and enables doctors to receive real-time information about patients’ heart rates.

This helps clinicians to make changes to treatments and act before patients will reach the point of requiring admission in hospital.

It is the first time the device, which was implanted in a 53-year-old female patient, has been used in the UK outside of a clinical trial.

Consultant cardiologist Dr Andrew Flett carried out the procedure and said: “Patients who receive this implant can send readings to us every day via the internet from their home so we can monitor them and adjust medications immediately – it is a revolution and a very exciting piece of technology.”

Changes in the pressure of blood through the pulmonary artery can indicate worsening heart failure before other measures.

However, the current standard of monitoring is carried out by using blood pressure cuffs and electronic scales at home or in the clinic and this can result in delays in intervention and the need for hospital admission to resolve a worsening of symptoms.

“Being able to monitor pulmonary artery pressure on a daily basis will undoubtedly reduce hospital admissions, improving patients’ quality of life and relieving pressure on hospitals as a result – it is a real game-changer”, Dr Flett said.

The CardioMEMS device has been previously trialled in the US, where studies led by researchers at Ohio State University Heart and Vascular Center found it reduced hospital admissions by 33% over an average of 18 months.

Heart failure affects around 900,000 people in the UK and occurs when the heart does not pump enough blood around the body.

The condition could cause several symptoms including shortness of breath, dry cough and weight gain.

However, it can be controlled using a combination of interventions including lifestyle changes, medication, pacemakers and surgery.