SPECIALISTS at Hereford County Hospital have successful inserted a miniature hi-tech heartbeat monitor to a patient for the first time.

The insertion of the all-new mini-monitor – called a Medtronic Reveal LINQ  - is confirmed this morning (Mon) as one of the first operations of its kind carried out in the UK.

Jim Glancy, consultant cardiologist at the County, had the go-ahead to get the implant  under the skin of 19-year-old patient Jonathon Ramage-Hill.

Jim’s team can now monitor Jonathon’s heart rate and rhythm without him having to go anywhere near the hospital.

The monitor is linked wirelessly  to a receiver in Jonathon’s Hereford home to send recordings of his heartbeat to the hospital instead.

“The biggest advantage of this new device over the old version is its size. It’s a tenth the size of the previous version and is so small we can inject it under the skin very quickly - it’s great for thinner people or those who want something less conspicuous for cosmetic reasons,” said Jim.

“It lasts for three years, and allows us to monitor any irregular heartbeats or rhythms and can even be programmed to alert us if it picks up anything abnormal which we need to know about - all without patients having to come to the hospital," he said.

Pioneer patient Jonathon said he was just happy the cardiologists could “keep tabs” on him.

Wye Valley NHS Trust is looking to extend its use of telemedicine through such everyday applications as video links, e-mail, and telephone to transmit medical information - even consultations between a doctor and patient.