A Chingford woman was the first heart patient in the UK to receive a groundbreaking new type of pacemaker.
Maureen McCleave, 77, of Elmfield Road in Chingford, is doing well after having the Nanostim device implanted earlier this month at St Bartholomew’s Hospital.
The device, which is smaller than an AAA battery, sits inside one of the heart’s chambers, whereas conventional devices sit outside the heart and regulate the heartbeat by sending electrical pulses through leads.
It also leaves no scars and cannot be seen on the chest.
Mrs McCleave was due to be fitted with an ordinary pacemaker next month, but received a call from Professor Richard Schilling on January 10, who asked her if she wanted to among a group of six people to receive the treatment.
“I had been feeling giddy, exhausted and out of breathe so when Professor Schilling called and made me the offer, which included having no scar or box on my chest, I thought the quicker the better,” Mrs McCleave said.
The procedure on January 13 lasted just seven minutes.
The Nanostim was inserted through a vein via an incision in the groin area and anchored up to the heart.
She said: "I was talking and asking questions about when the sedation would kick in and then I don’t remember feeling anything. It was over so quickly."
The new device takes under 15 minutes to be fitted, compared to up to 45 minutes for a standard pacemaker, and is set to revolutionise the treatment of heart disease.
Mrs McCleave, a retired typist, was chosen for the procedure as she has severe atrial fibrillation and suffered a stroke which led to her receiving medication to slow her heartbeat.
Prior to the operation, her heartbeat would stop for up to 4.5 seconds, leaving her feeling restless and tired after many sleepless nights.
She said: “I have been able to sleep well since the new pacemaker was fitted and I consider myself so lucky to have been chosen for this procedure.
"It is an amazing breakthrough and I’m very proud and fortunate to be the first person in the UK to have this fitted."