A tiny pacemaker secured Laura's future
A pacemaker is a small electrical device, fitted in your chest or abdomen. For people like Laura, they can be the difference between life and death.
While training for her first half marathon, Laura noticed her heart was occasionally missing a beat. After visiting her GP she was eventually given the shocking diagnosis of a third degree heart block, causing her heart to stop and then spontaneously start again. She was told a pacemaker was the best way to protect her heart, and her future. Since having one fitted, Laura ran a half marathon, had a baby, and is living life to the full.
The job of a pacemaker is to send electrical impulses that stimulate your heart to contract, and produce a heart beat. Life saving as they are, more research is needed for them to reach their potential, and be completely discomfort and harm-free .
Developing better, safer treatments for abnormal heart rhythm conditions
Ventricular tachycardia is a abnormal heart rhythm that can be life-threatening.
People with the condition can have a type of pacemaker called an ICD (implantable cardioverter defibrillator) fitted, which brings the heart back in a normal rhythm.
But the shocks they deliver can be uncomfortable and sometimes harmful. So Dr Zachary Whinnett and his team are working to develop new ICD treatments that safely reduce the need for shocks.
Reducing unnecessary shocks will improve both quality of life and life expectancy for people with ICDs.
Can a new type of pacemaker treatment improve symptoms in heart failure?
Cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT), is a type of pacemaker therapy that helps treat heart failure, an incurable condition that happens when the heart muscle is damaged.
It can improve symptoms, reduce hospital admissions and prevent deaths. Unfortunately it only works in certain people with heart failure.
But our researchers are embarking on a project that will test a special type of pacemaker therapy, alongside a method for identifying the best pacemaker settings.
The aim is to reveal a new treatment for people with heart failure that could vastly improve both their outlook and quality of life.
If you are living with a heart condition and you're looking for help with understanding your condition or want to know more about keeping your heart healthy, we're here to help.
Call us on 0300 330 3311 (similar cost to 01 or 02 numbers). Phone lines are open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Or email us your questions to [email protected]