Tuesday 28th March 2023
Essex heart patients are the first in the country to benefit from new wearable technology used by hospital staff in a revolutionary procedure.
Staff at the world-renowned Essex Cardiothoracic Centre (CTC) at Basildon Hospital are wearing digital glasses, where they are guided remotely through a complex multi-step procedure by experts seeing exactly what they see.
The glasses enable heart staff to receive real-time advice from anywhere in the world as they share a live feed from the operating theatre through a high-resolution camera on the glasses.
Previously, staff were advised by a clinical expert present in the operating theatre, but they can now be remotely guided by the expert via the glasses from anywhere in the world, helping save time for patients and staff.
Dr Rohan Jagathesan, Medical Director at the Essex CTC, said: “This new innovative equipment allows us to be more independent and to carry out more procedures, and means we can treat patients more quickly as we don’t need a specialist to come to the hospital.
“We can also use the glasses to train our staff during a simulated procedure and further develop their skills, helping to improve the service we give to our patients.”
While the Essex CTC has carried out its very first remotely supported TAVI, it has performed more than 500 of these procedures, meaning that more patients than ever will benefit from this cutting-edge technology.
Cardiologist Dr Christopher Cook said the glasses also allow experts to supervise multiple procedures simultaneously in different locations. We can have complete independence in listing as many patients as possible. What we've done is thought about innovative technological solutions to allow us to do this without a human being present in our hospital."
When waiting lists were at their highest in 2021 between July and September, the average wait time for TAVI procedure at Basildon Hospital was just over seven months. This has since come down to two-and-a-half months.
Dr Cook added: "The reduction has been achieved with the same amount of working space but [through] improvements to the efficiencies we can achieve."
Heart Valve Voice Executive Director, Wil Woan, said: “This is an extraordinary new development in how the Basildon team treat valve disease. With services across the country battling to increase treatment levels to address the backlog, it is brilliant to see teams utilise technology to find new ways of working that enable them to treat more patients. It’s essential that we capture these new ways of working and best practices so that patients across the country can benefit from them.”