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Tiny heart monitors bring big benefits for patients

Consultant Cardiologist Dr Mickey Jachuck, holding the old-style implant, and patient Gary Koomson, with the new one which he has had implanted.

Miniaturised cardiac monitors are being implanted in patients at South Tyneside District Hospital.

The monitors, which are about one-third the size of an AAA battery, are nearly 90% smaller than conventional, implantable devices.

They are used for assessing patients with symptoms of dizziness, blackouts or palpitations, which could be signs of disturbances in heart rhythm that may require treatment.

For patients at high risk of having heart problems, the device also has the benefit of offering remote monitoring, allowing for any potential abnormalities to be detected immediately by automatically transmitting information wirelessly to the cardiology team.

Whilst many of the causes for common symptoms are benign, it is important to establish the reason behind them. This is often difficult as the symptoms can occur infrequently and are unpredictable so the ability to monitor the heart continuously, for anything up to two to three years, is extremely helpful in terms of making a diagnosis or reassuring the patient that their heart rhythm is normal.”

– Consultant Cardiologist Dr Mickey Jachuck. South Tyneside Hospital

South Shields father-of-four Gary Koomson was among the first patients to have the new monitor implanted at South Tyneside.

Mr Koomson has a form of the heart muscle disease cardiomyopathy,

I think it’s great: the procedure to implant it was painless and it only took about 10 minutes. It gives me peace of mind because I know that if there any heart irregularities, the doctors will automatically know about it.”

– Gary Koomson

The new Medtronic monitors are implanted in the chest, just under the skin, using local anaesthetic.

The simple procedure takes only a few minutes and the incision measures less than 1cm.

No antibiotics are needed and only a sterile dressing is required to cover the wound.

Previously, implantation of cardiac monitoring devices at South Tyneside District Hospital required a minor surgical procedure, performed in an operating theatre, with antibiotics given intravenously beforehand and the wound, measuring 2cm-3cm, closed with stitches.

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North Tyneside roadworks misery 'almost at an end'

The roadworks have caused delays for several months.

Three separate roadworks, which have brought misery to drivers on a main route in North Tyneside for several months, will soon end.

Drivers using the A188 at Four Lane Ends have been traveling at a snails pace during peak times.

As well as people who work in the area, this has also affected many people living in Longbenton.

The A188/A189 corridor is a key link between serving Northumberland, Newcastle and North Tyneside and includes the Four Lane Ends Metro and bus interchange.

Now, North Tyneside Council has announced that the worst will soon be over.

Here is what they are telling us:

  • A scheme to install traffic signals at the A188 Quorum Business Park- Balliol Business Park roundabout is due for completion this week. The resurfacing of the roundabout, which is the final stage of the work is underway. Diversions are in place between 8pm and 6am via Salters’ Lane and West Farm Avenue to enable these works to be carried out.
  • Work to replace the A188-Goathland Avenue-West Farm Avenue roundabout with a signalised crossroad is also reaching its final stages. Temporary four-way lights are in operation on Goathland roundabout up to Monday, May 18 to allow for road construction and resurfacing works. The scheme will be finished by the end of June.
  • The replacement of the A191- A188 Four Lane Ends roundaboutwith a signalised crossroad is due for completion by the end of this summer.

I’m sure the completion of these junction works will be welcomed by those who regularly travel along the A188 Benton Lane corridor. While have been able to ensure that the vast majority of work has been carried out during off-peak times, we recognise that disruption has been caused. I understand the frustration of road users and am grateful for their continued patience. Once complete, the project will result in reduced congestion, improved public transport movements and enhanced road safety.”

– Kevin Ridpath, Highway Network manager, North Tyneside Council

Lee Brown 'out of character' disappearance

Police are urgently trying to trace missing Lee Brown after he disappeared on a night out. Officers want to speak to anyone who was on the boat with Lee or anyone who has any information.

“Obviously we continue to be concerned for Lee as it is out of character for him to go missing and not be in contact with his family.

“We have conducted enquiries to trace those that were on the boat with Lee on Saturday evening, we have spoken to his family and friends, have viewed CCTV and have conducted searches in the area around where he was last seen. CCTV enquiries show Lee passing the Infinity Bridge towards Tees Barrage.

“It is important that anyone who may have seen Lee or anyone with information which may assist the inquiry gets in touch with us.”

– Detective Inspector Glen Westmoreland, from Stockton Police

Detective urges public for help in search for missing man

Lee Brown hasn't been seen since Saturday Credit: Cleveland Police

The officer in charge of the search for 24 year old Lee Brown who's been missing since Saturday night has renewed his appeal for help. Lee was last seen in Stockton after a party onboard the Teesside Princess with friends.

"Obviously we continue to be concerned for Lee as it is out of character for him to go missing and not be in contact with his family. We have conducted enquiries to trace those that were on the boat with Lee on Saturday evening, we have spoken to his family and friends, have viewed CCTV and have conducted searches in the area around where he was last seen. CCTV enquiries show Lee passing the Infinity Bridge towards Tees Barrage. It is important that anyone who may have seen Lee or anyone with information which may assist the inquiry gets in touch with us.”

– Det Insp Glen Westmoreland
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