Skip to main content

New Powys mobile heart monitoring equipment helps with quicker detection of heart irregularities

A new service which makes it quicker and easier for patients to find out if they are suffering from an arrhythmia* is now being rolled out to patients via some GP practices in Powys.

 Co-ordinated by Powys Teaching Health Board under its new Community Cardiology Service, with start-up funding from Welsh Government – the project is one that’s very personal to the officer that’s leading the health board work. Cath Rowlands is the health board’s Costing and Value Finance Business Partner and she herself has suffered from arrhythmia.

 “Personally, I waited 15 years for a diagnosis as whenever I went to see a GP my heart rate had settled but I knew something was wrong. I knew I shouldn’t have a 220bpm heart rate when I was sitting down watching tv,” said Cath.

 “In recent years it’s been clear to me that there was now technology available to make diagnosis quicker, easier and cheaper and avoid other patients having to travel to district general hospitals for tests.”

 The project has seen a number of mobile heart monitors** provided to GP practices in some parts of the county.

 “This means that the GP, or a nurse within the practice, can show the patient how to monitor their own heartbeat at home and then clinical staff can then see clear records of where arrhythmia occurs within weeks),” said Cath.

 The patient can then be managed and medicated in the GP practice where appropriate or referred to the health board’s new Community Cardiology Service, which is led by Dr Graham Thomas, for an echocardiogram – again this can take place within Powys. For more serious conditions patients can be referred to specialists with a diagnosis in hand.

 For the patients who have taken part in this scheme the health board estimate that   the average wait for diagnosis has reduced from 27 weeks to 3 weeks. Earlier diagnosis generally means better health outcomes for the patient but not only this; in the 12 months the project has been in place, the health board estimates that patients have saved around £7,000 in travel costs, 372 hours in travelling as well as reduced the resultant carbon emissions by some 3.54 tonnes ***.

 Powys Teaching Health Board is working with GP practices which have responded to an invitation to take part in the programme but they are keen to work with all practices within the county.

 Dr Ajith Kartha, who works at Llanfyllin Medical Centre, commented: “This is a great initiative from the local health board. The pilot has shown encouraging results with referral reduction, better quality referrals and better patient outcomes. That a lot of cardiac problems can be dealt with in the community is brilliant. A great well done to Cath and Dr Mel Plant for their efforts in getting this project up and running.”

Photo: Cath (right) is pictured with Dr Kartha (left) of Llanfyllin Medical Centre and Practice General Manager Juliet Sagar. Llanfylllin is one of the practices taking part in the project.


*Arrhythmia - An arrhythmia is an abnormality of the heart's rhythm. It may beat too slowly, too quickly, or irregularly. These abnormalities range from a minor inconvenience or discomfort to a potentially fatal problem.

** The monitors being used by local GPs are Zio XTs and Kardia Mobiles. You can see useful videos of how this equipment works at the following websites. (Please note that these are the manufacturers’ own promotional websites but we feel that the videos explain well how the systems work).