A HEART patient has become the first person to be fitted with an implant that can call his doctor on the phone.
David Southworth, 73, is monitored night and day by the device, which is the size of a pocket watch.
If his heart starts beating irregularly, the implant fires off small electrical impulses to get it back in rhythm and nip any problems in the bud.
But should it detect anything more serious, it will contact his surgeon on a phone or tablet.
His cardiologist, Dr Duncan Field, said: “It is a big leap forward in performance and intelligence that I liken to having a paramedic in your pocket.”
Mr Southworth was fitted with the Medtronic Cobalt implant under local anaesthetic by Dr Field at the Essex Cardiothoracic Centre in Basildon.
The surgeon passed leads through the veins into the heart and then implanted the device via a small incision under the patient’s collarbone.
Mr Southworth, from Colchester, said: “It’s helped me to breathe easier, walk further and, two weeks on, I feel better for it already."
“I took the procedure in my stride and I am pleased to play my part."
"Hopefully, the device can help a lot of other patients similar to me.”
Dr Field has since carried out the procedure on several more patients.
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He said: “The defibrillator can give the hospital team advanced warning if we need to intervene, wherever in the world the patient might be."
“Mr Southworth’s progress is encouraging."
"Thanks to the protection of the device, he can go and live his life again.”