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Drive-through service for heart patients at Llanfairfechan

Patients with pacemakers and implanted cardiac devices are benefitting from a drive-through service during the COVID pandemic.

People with pacemakers need to have their device checked regularly, usually at least once a year, but because of restrictions due to COVID-19, it has been difficult for the team to see patients face-to-face.

Over the last year the Cardiology Investigations Department at Ysbyty Gwynedd have been operating a drive-through clinic at Bryn y Neuadd in Llanfairfechan. Patients are able to park under a sheltered area and then have one of the cardiac physiologists download information from their pacemaker through their car window.

Aled Hughes, Chief Cardiac Physiologist, at Ysbyty Gwynedd, said: “During the pandemic we were not able to offer appointments to any patients for a period of time, and some are still reluctant to come into clinic due to anxieties around COVID.

“When our patients arrive at the drive through clinic they are greeted by a member of staff and a wireless header, slightly bigger than the size of a computer mouse is handed to the patient through the car window to hold up against their chest over their implanted device.

“The information is downloaded from the device on to an iPad, which then sends the information on to our pacing database to be reviewed, which is usually done on the computer in the office at the testing site.

“While the information is downloading, we are able to have a consultation with the patient. The patient will then be asked to wait for a few minutes while the information is reviewed, and then the results are given to the patient. The whole process takes roughly five – ten minutes from start to finish.”

The team have had positive feedback so far from their patients but are only able to offer appointments to specific patients who have devices that are made by the company, Medtronic.

“Other manufacturers are working on a monitor which will allow us to check their devices too, which would mean that we would be able to offer the appointments to the majority of our patients in the drive through clinic.

“It’s been a really positive experience and we are really pleased we have been able to continue to provide this valuable service for our patients.

“The drive through clinic is very quick and we are able to provide the results to the patient that day. If everything is fine then it gives the patient the peace of mind they need and they won’t need to hear from us until their next appointment”, added Aled.